Quite possibly the most beautiful photo of Saturn ever taken

This image looks like it can’t possibly be real, but it is. Taken back in 2006 when the Cassini spacecraft was orbiting the sixth planet, this photo captures a nighttime view of Saturn as light sparkles off of its rings.

A NASA astronomer explains all the components that make up this beautiful image:

First, the night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by light reflected from its own majestic ring system. Next, the rings themselves appear dark when silhouetted against Saturn, but quite bright when viewed away from Saturn, slightly scattering sunlight, in this exaggerated color image. Saturn’s rings light up so much that new rings were discovered, although they are hard to see in the image. Seen in spectacular detail, however, is Saturn’s E ring, the ring created by the newly discovered ice-fountains of the moon Enceladus and the outermost ring visible above. Far in the distance, at the left, just above the bright main rings, is the almost ignorable pale blue dot of Earth.

You can click on the image up top for a closer look.

Via NASA.

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