Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2001 August 8
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
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Farewell Jupiter
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, Cassini Project, NASA

Explanation: Next stop: Saturn. The Cassini spacecraft, launched from Earth four years ago, has now swung past Jupiter and should arrive at Saturn in the year 2004. Pictured to the left is a parting shot from Cassini in January that would not have been possible from Earth: Jupiter showing a crescent phase. From the Earth and all points sunward of Jupiter, the gas giant will always appear more fully lit than a crescent. After arriving at Saturn, Cassini will decelerate to orbit the ringed world and send a probe to its enigmatic moon Titan.

Tomorrow's picture: Ray Craters

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.