The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed Saturn on June 20, 2019 as the planet made its closest approach to Earth this year, at approximately 845 million mile (1.36 billion km) away. Click the photo for a larger version. NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC), and M.H. Wong (U. of Cal., Berkeley)
Let you eyes soak this one in. I look at Saturn all the time in my telescope. But this image made me stop and stare. It is so rich with detail and has such pleasing colors, it’s a joy to behold.
When we think of the Hubble Space Telescope pictures of galaxies often come to mind, but it’s also used to photograph the planets and other solar system objects on occasion. The detail it can provide is surpassed only by visiting space probes. And Hubble has an advantage — it can observe the objects over much longer periods of time compared to say a flyby mission. Decades even.
Because Saturn’s axis is tipped, we see different presentations of the rings as the planet cycles around the sun every 29 years. Saturn’s northern hemisphere and the north side (left) of the rings are currently facing Earth. That ...