Bad Astronomy

Saturn’s million moons cast shadows…

Sigh. A very, very cool image of Saturn’s rings came out, and I was prepared to do all sorts of analysis and math to show you just how cool it is, but then my Secret Identity life kicked in, and I got delayed. Such is life. So now I will instead send you to Emily’s place to let her tell the tale of the incredible image. But since I posted the images on Flickr anyway, let me at least show you them, and tease you about what you’re seeing:


[Click to embiggen and get to the Cassini raw image…]

This is a view from Cassini of Saturn’s rings. The long shadow is being cast on the rings by the moon Mimas, which is well outside the field of view of this image. But if you look closely at the rings, other shadows are to be seen…

What’s causing all those jagged shadows? Ah, well, again I’ll let Emily tell the tale. Let me say it again: you really want to read what she wrote. It’s amazing!

Tip o’ the Whipple Shield to Nancy Atkinson at Universe Today and the folks at Unmanned Spaceflight who originally spotted this!