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Saturn Looks Downright Sexy in This New Cassini Image

A new image taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows us that a little lighting goes a long way. The new picture of Saturn was taken in the planet’s shadow, using the Sun as a back light for the solar system’s third largest body. If NASA images were a Playboy magazine, this would be the centerfold. Turn-ons: Rings, moons, and hydrogen. Turn-offs: Short orbital periods, Pluto.

Besides being beautiful, and it is, this new image can provide NASA scientists with new information about Saturn’s rings and atmospheric phenomena. Since getting an image like this requires the satellite to be in the shadow of the planet, they don’t come around very often. The last one was taken back in 2006, and it too is beautiful:

Saturn hasn’t changed color in the last six years. The difference in hue is because the 2006 image tried to replicate the natural color of the planet, while this new one has its color enhanced by adding information taken with infrared, red, and violet color filters. Sometimes you have do a little touch-up before you go to press.

The new image also provides a slightly different view of Saturn. It was taken at an angle about 19 degrees below Saturn’s ring plane, while the older picture took a top-down view of roughly 15 degrees above the ring plane.

It’s probably safe to say Saturn would look good from any angle.

(via NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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