Thanks to a rare set of circumstances not unlike a solar eclipse here on Earth, NASA's Cassini spacecraft was able to capture this photograph of Saturn on Oct. 17, 2012, during the craft's 174th orbit around the gigantic ringed planet. Noticeably missing is Saturn's signature brownish orange hue; what the camera captures instead is an expansive, ominous shadow that highlights the gas giant's rings. NASA calls the newly released snapshot a "splendor seldom seen," adding that the "very scientifically advantageous and coveted viewing position... [reveals] details about both the rings and atmosphere that cannot be seen in lower solar phase." "Absolutely remarkable," says Robert T. Gonzalez at io9. We tend to agree.
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What the dark side of Saturn looks like
NASA's Cassini spacecraft snapped this photo of Saturn while it was in the planet's shadow. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
December 19, 2012
of The Week magazine.