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¡®Wave To Saturn¡¯ July 19: Cassini Spacecraft
To Take Photo of Earth from Deep Space
Frampton comes
to play!... Pg 12
It¡¯s time for me
to fly... Pg 3
It¡¯s Lavender Fest
Time... Pg 14
New water park
coming... Pg 10
Cassini will take a picture of Earth from
about 898 million (1.44 billion kilome-
ters) away, or nearly 10 times the distance
between Earth and the sun. It will be the
first time Earthlings have had advance
notice that their picture will be taken from
interplanetary distances.
PASADENA, CA, Jun. 18, 2013: NASA¡¯s
Cassini spacecraft, now exploring Saturn,
will take a picture of our home planet from
a distance of hundreds of millions of miles
on July 19. NASA is inviting the public to
help acknowledge the historic interplan-
etary portrait as it is being taken.
Earth will appear as a small, pale blue dot
between the rings of Saturn in the image,
2013 July #4-6
found the July 19 opportunity would permit the spacecraft to spend time in
Saturn¡¯s shadow to duplicate the views from earlier in the mission to col-
lect both visible and infrared imagery of the planet and its ring system.
¡°Looking back towards the sun through the rings highlights the tiniest
of ring particles, whose width is comparable to the thickness of hair and
which are difficult to see from ground-based telescopes,¡± said Matt Hed-
man, a Cassini science team member based at Cornell University in Ithaca,
N.Y., and a member of the rings working group. ¡°We¡¯re particularly inter-
ested in seeing the structures within Saturn¡¯s dusty E ring, which is sculpt-
ed by the activity of the geysers on the moon Enceladus, Saturn¡¯s magnetic
field and even solar radiation pressure.¡±
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the Euro-
pean Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the Cassini-
Huygens mission for NASA¡¯s Science Mission Directorate in Washington,
and designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter and its two
onboard cameras. The imaging team consists of scientists from the United
States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The imaging operations
center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
To learn more about the public outreach activities associated with the tak-
ing of the image, visit: For more info on
Cassini, visit: and
which will be part of a mosaic, or multi-image portrait, of the Saturn system Cas-
sini is composing.
¡°While Earth will be only about a pixel in size from Cassini¡¯s vantage point 898
million [1.44 billion kilometers] away, the team is looking forward to giving
the world a chance to see what their home looks like from Saturn,¡± said Linda
Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA¡¯s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasa-
dena, Calif. ¡°We hope you¡¯ll join us in waving at Saturn from Earth, so we can
commemorate this special opportunity.¡±
Cassini will start obtaining the Earth part of the mosaic at 2:27p PDT (3:27p
MDT, 5:27p EDT or 21:27 UTC) and end about 15 minutes later, all while Saturn
is eclipsing the sun from Cassini¡¯s point of view. The spacecraft¡¯s unique vantage
point in Saturn¡¯s shadow will provide a special scientific opportunity to look at
the planet¡¯s rings. At the time of the photo, North America and part of the Atlan-
tic Ocean will be in sunlight.
Unlike two previous Cassini eclipse mosaics of the Saturn system in 2006, which
captured Earth, and another in 2012, the July 19 image will be the first to capture
the Saturn system with Earth in natural color, as human eyes would see it. It also
will be the first to capture the Earth and moon with Cassini¡¯s highest-resolution
camera. The probe¡¯s position will allow it to turn its cameras towards the sun,
where Earth will be, without damaging the spacecraft¡¯s sensitive detectors.
¡°Ever since we caught sight of the Earth among the rings of Saturn in September
2006 in a mosaic that has become one of Cassini¡¯s most beloved images, I have
wanted to do it all over again, only
better,¡± said Carolyn Porco, Cassini
imaging team lead at the Space Sci-
ence Institute in Boulder, Colo. ¡°This
time, I wanted to turn the entire event
into an opportunity for everyone
around the globe to savor the unique-
ness of our planet and the precious-
ness of the life on it.¡±
Porco and her imaging team associ-
ates examined Cassini¡¯s planned
flight path for the remainder of its
Saturn mission in search of a time
when Earth would not be obstructed
by Saturn or its rings. Working with
other Cassini team members, they
Cassini created this panoramic view of the Saturn system, with Earth appearing
as a pale blue dot, in 2006. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute