Pretty cool stuff.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has been in orbit around Saturn for more than eight years, has delivered a rare backlit view of the planet and its rings.
The image was taken in October 2012 during Cassini’s 174th orbit around the gas giant when it was deliberately positioned within Saturn’s shadow.
On Oct. 17, 2012, during its 174th orbit around the gas giant, Cassini was deliberately positioned within Saturn’s shadow, a perfect location from which to look in the direction of the sun and take a backlit view of the rings and the dark side of the planet. Looking back towards the sun is a geometry referred to by planetary scientists as “high solar phase;” near the center of your target’s shadow is the highest phase possible. This is a very scientifically advantageous and coveted viewing position, as it can reveal details about both the rings and atmosphere that cannot be seen in lower solar phase.
See a larger image at NASA’s website.
(Jack Faragasso’s cover for the 1971 edition of The Pyramids from Space (1970), Jack Bertin and Peter B. Germano)
This post is in a series on the interaction between television/film and science fiction cover art (The Statue of Liberty on Pre-1968 Magazine and Novel Covers and Cosmic Fetuses + Other Uterine Spaces). In the former, the scene at the end of Planet of the Apes (1968) drew directly on pre-existing pulp science fiction art tropes. In the later, Kubrick’s baby in a balloon scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) inspired many artists to reproduce the image of the cosmic fetus. There isn’t a direct line of influence in this post between these covers and Stargate (1994) and its sequels. I simply seek to illustrate that there has always been an obsession, verging into the sci-fi genre, with re-interpreting
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