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NASA releases spectactular photo of Saturn, tiny Earth | News

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NASA releases spectactular photo of Saturn, tiny Earth

(CNN) -- NASA has given the people of Earth a rare treat: A color mosaic that captures not only Saturn, but also the tiny dots of Earth and other planets in the background.

The image, released Tuesday, was captured by the Cassini spacecraft on July 19, when the sun slipped behind the ringed planet. Earth appears as a bright blue dot to Saturn's lower right, just above Saturn's halo-like outer E-ring.

Venus is a dot to the upper left, with Mars appearing as a faint red dot above and to the left of Venus.

This is the first image in which Saturn, its moons and rings, and Earth, Venus and Mars are all visible, NASA said. The image -- a panorama of 141 wide-angle pictures -- covers 404,880 miles across Saturn and its ring system.

Cassini images showing both Saturn and Earth are rare because the sun is so close to Earth, that targeting the blue planet would damage Cassini's sensors, NASA says. The July 19 image was possible because Saturn obstructed the sun.


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