NASA's Cassini spacecraft sent back this stunning image of Saturn, along with seven of its moons, its inner rings -- and, in the background, the Earth. The image, which spans some 404,880 miles in all, appears as it would be seen by human eyes. This was a rare moment for Cassini, which was waiting for a chance to photograph a moment when the sun would slip behind Saturn. This natural-color picture, which NASA just released, was taken on July 19 and is the first photograph taken from space in which Saturn, its moons and rings, and Earth, Venus and Mars, are visible.
The Cassini spacecraft offers a new tops-down view of Saturn and its main rings. The craft arrived at the planet in 2004 and is slated to remain in orbit, swinging between the planet's north and south poles, until 2015.
A shot of the F ring of Saturn taken by the Cassini spacecraft. Scientists believe that the jets seeming to streak across the image are caused by the ring's particles interacting with small moons orbiting nearby.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 45 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 20.