From Astronomy Pic of the Day!

Saturn eclipsing the sun from the Cassini spacecraft.

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

In the Shadow of Saturn
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: In the shadow of Saturn, unexpected wonders appear. The robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn recently drifted in giant planet’s shadow for about 12 hours and looked back toward the eclipsed Sun. Cassini saw a view unlike any other. First, the night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by light reflected from its own majestic ring system. Next, the rings themselves appear dark when silhouetted against Saturn, but quite bright when viewed away from Saturn and slightly scattering sunlight, in the above exaggerated color image. Saturn’s rings light up so much that new rings were discovered, although they are hard to see in the above image. Visible in spectacular detail, however, is Saturn’s E ring, the ring created by the newly discovered ice-fountains of the moon Enceladus, and the outermost ring visible above. Far in the distance, visible on the image left just above the bright main rings, is the almost ignorable pale blue dot of Earth.

I was out and around tonight and saw a wonderful moon, at perigee, with a magnificent halo through ice crystals.   Not as spectacular, with the light pollution in the middle of a big city – especially taken with my mobile phone, but… a taste nonetheless…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. BillyHW says:

    Wow, picture of the year.

  2. Nick says:

    Truly creation reflects God’s glory!

    The link you gave to the pic, Father, cotains a small error. Here is the correct link: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html My apologies if I have embarrassed you.

  3. PNP, OP says:

    Who can look at that and say, “There is no God!” Fr. Philip, OP

  4. michael r. says:

    Incredible photo!

  5. Mark S. says:

    As the Book of Daniel says, “O all you works of the Lord, bless the Lord”.

  6. Roland de Chanson says:

    PNP, OP: Who can look at that and say, “There is no God!”
    Mark S: “O all you works of the Lord, bless the Lord”

    Rings which are moons shattered in a gravitational cataclysm? And earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis? and the Chicxulub crater, the tomb of a rogue asteroid that exterminated the great lizards and allowed the evolution of puny mammals that wonder about the Prime Mover of all cataclysms?

  7. Jenny Z says:

    The moon was really awesome last night in Texas as well. I’m surprised I got a good picture of it with my little old point-and-shoot. http://jenny-zzz.smugmug.com/photos/453002804_mcSJc-M.jpg

    That picture of Saturn doesn’t even look real :o Wicked.

  8. Laura Lowder says:

    “The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork…” And the Psalmist didn’t get to see that. Wow. Thanks, Fr Z.

  9. Praised be the Lord who made all things! That’s beautiful.

  10. sid says:

    A Hungarian priest preached the best Epiphany sermon that I ever heard. Gesturing to the creche: “How great is God, worthy to be adored; how little is God, able to be loved”

  11. Simply stunning. What a wondrous universe our Lord has given us! It makes one feel so small and so wide-eyed, like a child–and so very grateful to have a Father like ours!

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