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Sci-Tech

Hubble snaps enchanting new portraits of Mars and Saturn

Our neighbors strut their stuff for the camera.

The Hubble Space Telescope observed Saturn on June 6. 

NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC) and the OPAL Team, and J. DePasquale (STScI)

Marvelous Mars and sublime Saturn have struck poses for the Hubble Space Telescope, and they look gorgeous. 

Both Mars and Saturn have come close-ish to Earth this summer for events known as an opposition, which happens when the sun and a planet are lined up on opposite sides of Earth, like a celestial sandwich. This is the perfect time for astronomers to get good looks at our solar system companions.

Hubble Space Telescope observed Mars on July 18. 

NASA, ESA, and STScI

Saturn reached opposition on June 27, and Mars is almost there with opposition set to happen Friday. "Hubble's high-resolution images of our planetary neighbors can only be surpassed by pictures taken from spacecraft that actually visit these bodies," notes the European Space Agency's Hubble site.

Hubble snagged a clear view of Saturn on June 6 that shows the hexagonal cloud pattern at its north pole with the remnants of a dying storm just below it. The telescope also captured six of the ringed planet's 62 known moons. 

Hubble turned its attention to Mars and captured on image on July 18, though the Red Planet's landscape features were obscured by an ongoing global dust storm. "The Hubble images show that Earth isn't the only planet where intense spring and summer storms wreak havoc," says NASA's Hubble site

The space telescope, which was launched back in 1990, is a joint project of NASA and ESA.