Hahaha, just kidding! Any fool knows the Space Pope lives far beyond this pathetic solar system.
Nevertheless, Cassini’s photos of Saturn are incredible. These are from a recent set that NASA received from the satellite as it cruised around Saturn’s outer rings. It’s like a hippy-dippy trip through the mysteries of space and cosmic unknowns. I will never see this with my own eyes, though, hopefully, one day some people will. It really makes me wonder what the hell else is out there in the unfathomably massive universe in which we are but a tiny speck. Further, the scale on these photos is a little mind-boggling. Often they note that the scale is something like 8km per PIXEL. What? Whatever. I’m not even going to try and think about that.
Here are some of my favorites.
Rhea passes in front of Saturn’s larger, hazy moon Titan (which is lit from behind by the sun) in June of 2006. (NASA/JPL/SSI)
Cassini looks toward Rhea’s cratered, icy landscape with the dark line of Saturn’s ringplane and the planet’s murky atmosphere as a background. Rhea is Saturn’s second-largest moon, at 1,528 km (949 mi) across. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired on July 17, 2007 at a distance of approximately 1.2 million km (770,000 mi) from Rhea. Image scale is 7 km (5 mi) per pixel. (NASA/JPL/SSI)
Small, battered Epimetheus before Saturn’s A and F rings, and and smog-enshrouded Titan (5,150 km/3,200 mi wide) beyond. The color information in the colorized view is artificial: it is derived from red, green and blue images taken at nearly the same time and phase angle as the clear filter image. This color information was overlaid onto a previously released clear filter view in order to approximate the scene as it might appear to human eyes. The view was acquired on April 28, 2006, at a distance of approximately 667,000 km (415,000 mi) from Epimetheus and 1.8 million km (1.1 million mi) from Titan. The image scale is 4 km (2 mi) per pixel on Epimetheus and 11 km (7 mi) per pixel on Titan. (NASA/JPL/SSI)
Cassini peers through the fine, smoke-sized ice particles of Saturn’s F ring toward the cratered face of Mimas (396 km/246 mi wide). The F ring’s core is dense enough to completely block the light from Mimas. The image was taken on Nov. 18, 2007 at a distance of approximately 772,000 km (480,000 mi) from Mimas. Image scale is 5 km (3 mi) per pixel on the moon. (NASA/JPL/SSI)
Cassini peers through Saturn’s delicate, translucent inner C ring to see the diffuse yellow-blue limb of Saturn’s atmosphere. The image was taken on April 25, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.5 million km (913,000 mi) from Saturn. Image scale is 8 km (5 mi) per pixel. (NASA/JPL/SSI)
Saturn’s high north is a seething cauldron of activity filled with roiling cloud bands and swirling vortices. A corner of the north polar hexagon is seen at upper left. The image was taken on Aug. 25, 2008 at a distance of approximately 541,000 km (336,000 mi) from Saturn. Image scale is 29 km (18 mi) per pixel. (NASA/JPL/SSI)
Shit, I could post all 24 of these. So just go to the site I stole them from: The Big Picture on Boston.com.