NASA captures first ever image of Saturn, its rings and moons, as well as Earth, Venus and Mars


posted Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 2:22 PM EST


Remember this incredible photo of Earth as seen through the rings of Saturn? It turns out there's more to the photo than just that, and NASA has just released an astonishing panorama from the Cassini spacecraft, an image that spans 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across.

The image is made from a combination of 141 wide-angle photographs, stitched together by NASA. It represents the first image to not just show Saturn and its rings and moons, but Mars, Venus, and the Earth — all at once.

As with the earlier photo released, the image was taken on July 19, as thousands participated around the world in the Wave at Saturn event. Usually Cassini isn't able to capture images of the Earth because we're too close to the Sun, and the bright light would damage its sensitive sensor. But as the ship slipped into Saturn's shadow, it was able to record the images that were stitched together in this mosaic.

For more information on this image, as well as further annotations, you can see its page on the JPL website.

For an image that's slightly less huge, but no less astronomically impressive, a new 360° panorama has been released from the Mars Rover. If you've ever wanted a chance to look around an alien world, it doesn't get much more impressive than that.

On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, NASA's Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn's shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings -- and, in the background, our home planet, Earth. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI