Astronomy Picture of the Day
July 17, 2013

Southern Latitudes
Southern Latitudes

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute - Credits for the Additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

The deep and dark shadows created by the Rings of the Gas-Giant Planet Saturn slide more and more Southward, as Saturn moves towards its Southern Winter (or Northern Summer, if you prefer). Saturn is now almost exactly halfway between its Equinox (which occurred in the month of August of the AD 2009) and the Southern Winter Solstice (which shall take place in the month of May of the AD 2017). As you should remember, during the Equinox, the shadows of the Rings appeared just as a very thin line at Saturn's Equator.

This view is centered on an area located at approx. 22° South Latitude and it was taken by the NASA-Cassini Spacecraft Wide-Angle Camera on May, 6, 2013, using a Spectral Filter sensitive to Wavelengths of Near-InfraRed Light, centered at 752 nanometers. The picture was acquired at a distance of approximately 813.000 miles (such as about 1.308.393 Million KiloMeters) from Saturn. Image scale is roughly 48 miles (approx. 77,24 Km) per pixel.

This frame (which is a NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft Original b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal and identified by the serial n. PIA 14669) has been additionally processed, magnified, contrast enhanced and then colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Southern Regions of Satun), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among others, the existence of different Elements in the Upper Atmosphere of Satun, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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