July 23, 2013 10:57 am
Last week we told you to smile wide, because a camera far, far, far away was about to take your portrait. From orbit around the gas giant Saturn, some 898 million miles from Earth, the Cassini space probe turned and took this photo. We’re that tiny blue dot, drifting in the black between Saturn’s rings and the blue smear at the bottom. (This smear, says Carolyn Porco, the head of the imaging team for Cassini, is Saturn’s E ring, a band produced by the geysers of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.)
This photo is just a sneak preview of what’s to come, says NASA. The full Saturn-Earth photo was taken as 33 individual frames, and this is just one of them. But, it’s the one that has Earth.
The snap is only humanity’s third such photo from the outer solar system. Unlike most tourists, NASA doesn’t travel to distant places just to spend the whole time taking photos of itself. One of the earlier snaps was also taken by Cassini, back in 2006. The one before that was by Voyager 1 way back in 1990—the famous Pale Blue Dot.
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