Astronomy Picture of the Day – 7/8/2018

NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Because Earth is in between Saturn and the Sun, we’ll never be able to see the night side of the ringed planet through a telescope. The only way we have currently is through images taken by spacecrafts.

While this image is utterly breathtaking, it gives us so much valuable information. When Saturn and its rings are lit from behind in this way, researchers can see details in the rings they can’t see from the other side.

They were able to detect colour differences they hadn’t seen before. Moreover, during this period of observation in 2006, Cassini found two new rings we hadn’t known about before – the Janus/Epimetheus ring and the Pallene ring.