Taking a Shine to Rings, Moons, and a Planet

The contrast of moon and planet in the Saturn system has been noted here many times. Above is a relatively recent image from Cassini (June ’08), and the B&W (actually the image is in green light) is striking.

Last week, the Cassini site posted two nice color images. First, the innermost large moon Mimas seemingly in float just past the rings:

And the rings reflecting brilliantly on the Saturnian cloud tops:

Notice the very bright (and overexposed) portion of the planet: that’s in daylight. Note the feathery inner rings in the bottom third of the image. The yellow clouds are lit by the reflected shine of the rings. The northern hemisphere is dark in comparison.

People living in the clouds of Saturn would have bright evenings for about fourteen-and-a-half years, then the other hemisphere would enjoy them for the same period. Ringshine would be a childhood memory, unless north-south travel across the equator were commonplace. If you think the full moon is bright on Earth, wait till you experience ringshine.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Astronomy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Taking a Shine to Rings, Moons, and a Planet

  1. Fran says:

    Thank you for these posts. In my theology class on sacraments and worship, we have looked at the cosmos… seeing these posts really touches on that.

    God is so good.

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