Wednesday, May 04, 2005

interplanetary razor's edge

Today's APOD is a composite picture from Cassini as it crossed through Saturn's ring plane. Seen edge-on the rings almost disappear, but their shadows, the dark curving stripes in the upper-right quadrant, are very apparent. With my telescope I can see the shadows of the rings on the planet (and vice-versa)... the Cassini Division is almost always visible, and sometimes the Encke Gap is a faint shadow that the scope can't quite resolve.

When I was a kid I would daydream about living on a planet that had rings and/or many moons and/or multiple suns, and imagine the interplay of shadow and light. Of course if we lived on a planet where that was the case, we might daydream about odd undiscovered worlds where the daytime skies are empty and full of light.