Thursday, 16 June 2011

Saturn im Morgenlicht – being there

The title to this post is a reference to an Arthur C Clarke story from the March 1961 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, which I used to devour. Saturn im Morgenlicht (Saturn in the morning light) always seemed more romantic than the English version - Saturn Rising. Now we can actually see it.

 Saturn im Morgenlicht

Along the same lines as a previous astronomical video post I did (Feb 2011) – If Jupiter was the same distance as the moon – comes this one following. It’s rather majestic.

Explanation: What would it look like to approach Saturn in a spaceship? One doesn't have to just imagine -- the Cassini spacecraft did just this in 2004, recording thousands of images along the way, and thousands more since entering orbit. Recently, some of these images have been digitally tweaked, cropped, and compiled into the following inspiring video which is part of a larger developing IMAX movie project named Outside In. In the last sequence, Saturn looms increasingly large on approach as cloudy Titan swoops below. With Saturn whirling around in the background, Cassini is next depicted flying over Mimas, with large Herschel Crater clearly visible. Saturn's majestic rings then take over the show as Cassini crosses Saturn's thin ring plane. Dark shadows of the ring appear on Saturn itself. Finally, the enigmatic ice-geyser moon Enceladus appears in the distance and then is approached just as the video clip ends.

5.6k Saturn Cassini Photographic Animation from stephen v2 on Vimeo.


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