“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home.”
These were the words of iconic astronomer Carl Sagan in describing the Pale Blue Dot photograph, a distant portrait of our planet as taken by Voyager 1. Seen from roughly 6 billion kilometers away, Earth is visible only as a small dot hanging in the darkness of deep space.
On July 19th, Cassini will have the opportunity to take a photograph of similar magnitude. As the orbiter turns to image Saturn and its entire ring system during a total eclipse of the sun, Earth will be in position to make a special appearance.
While attempts of a similar nature have been attempted since the Pale Blue Dot image was first taken in 1990, this attempt will be what Carolyn Porco, now a team leader on the Cassini project, describes as “an image of the highest resolution we are capable of taking.”
The Cassini portrait session of Earth, coined as ‘The Day The Earth Smiled’, will last about 15 minutes from 2:27 to 2:42 p.m. PDT (21:27 to 21:42 UTC).
To read more about Cassini, the photograph, and ‘The Day The Earth Smiled’:
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