Picture of the Day: Titan and the Shadows of the Rings

By Robinson Meyer
cassini615.jpg

NASA

Orbiting around Saturn, the Cassini probe captured this image of the planet -- which is gorgeous, but requires a little explanation. The rings themselves are visible here only as a slit, which seem, as they both share an axis, to pierce the planet's largest moon, Titan. But the rings become visible -- and show their recognizable stripes -- in shadows upon the surface of Saturn.

(Titan, by the way, only appears serene because it is swirling. A dense layer of clouds covers its entire upper atmosphere.)

Below, recent Pictures of the Day:

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/07/picture-of-the-day-titan-and-the-shadows-of-the-rings/259500/