Friday, July 19, 2013

Smiling And Waving At Cassini

Waving (And Smiling) At Cassini

Today about the time these pictures were taken the Cassini deep space probe which has been in orbit around the planet Saturn since 2004 was positioned so that the planet obscured the sun and thus the rings of saturn were backlit by the sun. In the resulting picture taken at that time will be a 'Pale-Blue-Dot' no more than a pixel which will be the planet Earth. The earth and saturn are so situated in their respective orbits around the sun that the sun reflects off the earth and makes it visible all the way to Saturn. You could imagine that if you walked out into your yard this day and looked at the correct place in the sky and waved and smiled then you would be in the picture. So here I am using the 'Star-Walk' app on my iPad to locate Saturn and taking pictures/screen-shots of it ( and me ) during this event.

The View From Cassini

Smiling at Cassini taking a picture of me. This picture was not actually the view that Cassini had but instead was the picture from my iPod Touch just a few feet from my face. Cassini's camera was over 75 light minutes from Earth at this time so the light from earth will not reach the camera on the Cassini probe for an hour and fifteen minutes after I took this picture.

A Picture of Cassini
A picture of the Star-Walk screen and just behind the iPad is the planet Saturn (not visible due to the the afternoon sky light).  Since the 75 light minutes are involved then I really should go back outside and take this picture again in one hour and fifteen minutes to get the 'REAL' picture of Casini.

Star-Walk Screen Shot
Star-Walk application screen-shot showing the east the horizon and the location of the Moon and Saturn.