Behind the shadows: NASA's Cassini captures Saturn's silhouette over its rings in a stunning image!
Just as on Earth, as the sun climbs higher in the sky, shadows get shorter.
New Delhi: NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been enticing space enthusiasts and scientists with its mesmerising images of Saturn and its moons.
The ringed planet is certainly attracting attention thanks to Cassini and scientists are very much intrigued to know all the hidden secrets it holds.
NASA has just released an image that was captured by Cassini in January 2015, that shows the magnificent planet's shadow stretched beyond the edge of its rings for many years after Cassini first arrived at Saturn, casting an ever-lengthening shadow that reached its maximum extent at the planet's 2009 equinox.
This image captured the moment in 2015 when the shrinking shadow just barely reached across the entire main ring system. The shadow will continue to shrink until the planet’s northern summer solstice, at which point it will once again start lengthening across the rings, reaching across them in 2019, said the American space agency.
As per NASA, like Earth, Saturn is tilted on its axis. And, just as on Earth, as the sun climbs higher in the sky, shadows get shorter. The projection of the planet's shadow onto the rings shrinks and grows over the course of its 29-year-long orbit, as the angle of the sun changes with respect to Saturn's equator.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 11 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 16, 2015.