Saturn Prior to Cassini Probe's Arrival

Stsci_2004-18a_1024

stsci_2004-18a May 26th, 2004

Credit: NASA, ESA and E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona)

As NASA's Cassini spacecraft hurtles toward a July 1, 2004 rendezvous with Saturn, the Hubble Space Telescope continues snapping breathtaking pictures of the solar system's most photogenic planet. This latest view, taken on March 22, 2004, is so sharp that many individual ringlets can be seen in Saturn's ring plane. Though Hubble is nearly a billion miles farther from Saturn than the Cassini probe, Hubble's exquisite optics, coupled with the high resolution of its Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), allow it to take pictures of Saturn which are nearly as sharp as Cassini's wide-angle views of the full planet as it begins its approach. Of course, Cassini will ultimately far exceed the resolution of Hubble during its close encounter with Saturn; indeed, Cassini's sharpness began to surpass Hubble's when it approached to within 14 million miles (23 million km) of Saturn this month. Hubble camera exposures in four filters (blue, blue-green, green, and red) were combined into this image, to render colors similar to what the eye would see through a telescope focused on Saturn. The subtle pastel colors of ammonia-methane clouds trace a variety of atmospheric dynamics. Saturn displays its familiar banded structure, and haze and clouds of various altitudes. Like Jupiter, all bands are parallel to Saturn's equator. Even the magnificent rings, at nearly their maximum tilt toward Earth, show subtle hues, which trace chemical differences in their icy composition. Over two decades have passed since a robotic emissary from Earth last visited Saturn. This was NASA's Voyager-2 space probe, which flew by Saturn in August 1981. But ever since 1990, Hubble has filled in the gap of high-resolution Saturn imaging by tracking storms and auroral activity, and providing crisp views of the ring plane from various angles, as Saturn drifts along its orbit. Approaching Saturn at an oblique angle to the Sun and from below the ecliptic plane, Cassini has a very diff

Provider: Space Telescope Science Institute

Image Source: https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/2004/news-2004-18

Curator: STScI, Baltimore, MD, USA

Image Use Policy: http://hubblesite.org/copyright/

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Image Details

Image Type
Planetary
Object Name
Saturn
Subject - Solar System
Planet > Type > Gas Giant

Distance

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 5h 26m 32.8s
DEC = 22° 8’ 36.3”
Constellation
Taurus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Hubble (ACS/HRC) Optical (B) 439.0 nm
Cyan Hubble (ACS/HRC) Optical (OIII) 502.0 nm
Green Hubble (ACS/HRC) Optical (V) 550.0 nm
Red Hubble (ACS/HRC) Optical (H-alpha) 658.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Cyan
Green
Red
Stsci_2004-18a_1280
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ID
2004-18a
Subject Category
A.1.1.2  
Subject Name
Saturn
Credits
NASA, ESA and E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona)
Release Date
2004-05-26T00:00:00
Lightyears
1.48e-4
Redshift
1.48e-4
Reference Url
https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/2004/news-2004-18
Type
Planetary
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Distance from Sun in km: 1400000000
Facility
Hubble, Hubble, Hubble, Hubble
Instrument
ACS/HRC, ACS/HRC, ACS/HRC, ACS/HRC
Color Assignment
Blue, Cyan, Green, Red
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
B, OIII, V, H-alpha
Central Wavelength
439, 502, 550, 658
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
81.63660833, 22.14340278
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
STScI
URL
http://hubblesite.org
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
3700 San Martin Drive
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
USA
Rights
http://hubblesite.org/copyright/
Publisher
STScI
Publisher ID
stsci
Resource ID
STSCI-H-p0418a-f-2150x1000.tif
Resource URL
https://mast.stsci.edu/api/latest/Download/file?uri=mast:OPO/product/STSCI-H-p0418a-f-2150x1000.tif
Related Resources
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2004/18
Metadata Date
2022-09-07T00:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.