© NASA cassini space probe
Saturn eclipses the Sun, as seen from the Cassini–Huygens space probe. The Cassini spacecraft's onboard cameras acquired a panoramic mosaic of Saturn that allows scientists to see details in the rings as they are backlit by the sun. This image spans about 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across.
A NASA spacecraft has revealed an unprecedented view of Saturn from space, showing the entire gas giant backlit by the sun with several of its moons and all but one of its rings, as Earth, Venus and Mars all appear as pinpricks light in the background.
The spectacular image, unveiled Tuesday (Nov. 12), is actually a mosaic of 141 wide-angle images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft
taken in natural color, which mimics how human eyes might see the ringed planet. Stretching 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across, the panorama captures all of Saturn's rings up to the ethereal E ring, the second outermost one.
The pictures that make up the mosaic were snapped on July 19, 2013 - the same day that Cassini took advantage of a rare opportunity to photograph Earth without interference from the sun, which was totally eclipsed by Saturn at the time. From its far-flung perch millions of miles away, Cassini captured amazing portraits of Earth as a pale blue dot
as thousands of people on the ground waved in honor of the global picture day.
"In this one magnificent view, Cassini has delivered to us a universe of marvels," Carolyn Porco, who leads Cassini's imaging team at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., said of the new image in a statement from NASA. "And it did so on a day people all over the world, in unison, smiled in celebration at the sheer joy of being alive on a pale blue dot."