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.
July 17, 1996
Looking Down on Saturn
Credit: Voyager 1, NASA
Explanation: This picture of Saturn could not have been taken from Earth. No Earth based picture could possibly view the night side of Saturn and the corresponding shadow cast across Saturn's rings. Since Earth is much closer to the Sun than Saturn, only the day side of the planet is visible from the Earth. In fact, this photo was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft as it flew by Saturn in November 1980. The next spacecraft to approach Saturn will be Cassini which is currently scheduled to be be launched next year and reach Saturn in 2004.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC