In Saturn’s Shadow

It’s tempting to do a simple report from the Astro-Viz ”06 workshop, since we’re starting to have conversations that might be of interest, but David Malin distracted me by presenting the above image as part of his keynote address this morning.

The Photojournal description of “In Saturn’s Shadow” tells us that the image “was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera.” We can see light scattered through the rings, as well as light cast on the dark side of the planet by the rings themselves. Obviously, one gets a sense of the extended nature of the rings as well.

“Color in the view was created by digitally compositing ultraviolet, infrared and clear filter images and was then adjusted to resemble natural color.” A sentence that gives me pause. I appreciate the description, but I’d like a little more detail (even if I think I can piece together what’s going on anyway). And the annotated image doesn’t help.

The corresponding page from the CICLOPS site provides a little more detail, describing color variations in the E ring in the “color-exaggerated” image above. Maybe there could be a link to a page describing what “color-exaggerated” means? Basically, I think they’re just trying to acquire a longer baseline (in terms of wavelength, stretching from ultraviolet to visible to infrared), thereby enhancing color contrasts.

Spiffy image, that’s for sure. Very spiffy. And it speaks to one of the points Malin made this morning: that compelling images can simply make one look more closely and phenomena, which excites curiosity and promotes thinking about the cosmos.

Leave a Reply