Deep Space Probe Captures Venus Through Saturn Rings
An amazing picture released by NASA today shows a unique perspective of Venus in the inner solar system, seen from the far-away outer region of the system where Saturn orbits the sun. The deep space probe Cassini, exploring Saturn and its moons, shot this image through the rings of the gas giant, across interplanetary space, to capture the bright, cloudy terrestrial planet Venus. The vast distance from Saturn means that Venus only shows up as a white dot, just above and to the right of the image center.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 17 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 10, 2012 and now released by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory which manages the Cassini-Huygens mission, a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
The bright arc is the limb of Saturn. A portion of the rings is seen in silhouette against the face of Saturn, which itself is faintly illuminated by sunlight scattered off the rings. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 802,000 kilometers from Saturn and at a sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 178 degrees. Image scale is 44 kilometers per pixel.