The Serene Beauty of Saturn

All of Humanity is Also in the Image

I woke up today, flipped open my iPad at breakfast, and was greeted with this image.  Wow!!

Saturn, as seen from Cassini, with Earth faintly glowing in the background.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Saturn, as seen from Cassini, with Earth faintly glowing in the background.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Just click on the image. I’ll wait.

This fantastically gorgeous image of Saturn was created on July 19 2013 when the Cassini spacecraft passed through Saturn’s shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings — and a special treat.  If you know where to look, deep in the background, lay planet Earth. As Carl Sagan once told us, everybody you know, you love, every living being that know about in the solar system was captured as a tiny dot in the background of a Saturn image.

Go look at the image again. It’s clickable and will open a huge version for you to explore. Find Earth?  It’s one of those dots.  Here’s an annotated version to help you out.

The full annotated version, with Earth and the Moon clearly labeled.
The full annotated version, with Earth and the Moon clearly labeled. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The Cassini mission planners encouraged everybody to go out and wave at Saturn that day. And, a lot of us did.  We did, up here at our place in the mountains. We had visitors that day from Lithuania, and together we all turned, looked at the spot in the sky where Saturn lay, and waved and laughed.  So, we’re in there. So are you, whether you waved or not.

Lots of people sent in pics of themselves waving on what came to be known as “The Day Earth Smiled.”

A composite of 1,600 images of people smiling and waving at Saturn.
A composite of 1,600 images of people smiling and waving at Saturn.

Were you there?

 

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