This amazing picture (click for big) was taken by Cassini, which is currently orbiting Saturn and has been for some time (originally launched in 1989!). It shows a remarkable phenomena - a solar eclipse, except Saturn is the Eclipser, rather than the familiar Moon.

Amazing fact: It is pure co-incidence that we see full solar eclipses on Earth - no where else in our Solar System is it possible, and maybe no where else in our Galaxy, or heck, even our Universe (though I doubt that)! The lucky break is the moon is precisely the right size in relation to its distance to the sun to completely block out the sun when in eclipse.

Alas! The Moon is moving away from Earth every moment - about an inch and half per year. Consider! The Moon is 5 feet further away now than in 1970. Amazing, eh? Give that a few million more years, and eventually, the Moon will be so far away we will no longer get full Solar Eclipses on Earth.

So! Enjoy it while we can!


l.e.s.ter said...

Amazing shot. When Cassini gets back to Earth he should buy a van so he can airbrush that photo on the side of it.

Redshirt said...

With Valkyries in tow, no doubt...