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Emily LakdawallaAugust 15, 2013

Pretty picture: spectacular Saturn and Titan

There's not much to say about this photo, other than: "wow." Thanks to Bill Dunford for pointing out this set of images on Cassini's raw images website.

EDIT: A few hours after I originally posted my version of this photo, Gordan Ugarkovic posted a much better version, so I've replaced my version with his version below. It's amazing how he managed to bring out details in the banding of Saturn's atmosphere.

Saturn and Titan

NASA / JPL / SSI / Gordan Ugarkovic

Saturn and Titan
Cassini captured this stunning view of Saturn and Titan from nearly behind the pair on August 11, 2013.

We're looking at Saturn and Titan from nearly behind. The Sun shines through Titan's atmosphere, making nearly a complete ring around it. This photo doesn't bear too-close scrutiny, because the data for red and green channels was returned to Earth at only half its full resolution. That's why the rings look a little pixelated. But the composition is really stunning. Nice work, Cassini team!

I've received several comments on Twitter about this photo, how "science fiction-y" it looks. That's space exploration for you -- turning science fiction into science fact.

Read more: Cassini, pretty pictures, Titan, amateur image processing, Saturn's moons, Saturn, many worlds

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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