Pale white dot: Cassini spacecraft captures Earth and Moon twinkling through Saturn's rings

Earth appears as a single pixel of bright light captured through Saturn's rings by Nasa's Cassini spacecraft 
Earth appears as a single pixel of bright light captured through Saturn's rings by Nasa's Cassini spacecraft  Credit: Nasa 

It looks like a star twinkling in the night sky.

But this tiny shining sphere is actually Earth, captured by Nasa's Cassini spacecraft which is currently studying Saturn's moons.

The image was captured by Nasa's Cassini spacecraft  Credit: Nasa 

The small white dot was spotted between Saturn's icy rings, and just to the left it is possible to also make out a dimmer speck, which is the Moon. 

The Moon can be seen to the left of the Earth

The picture is all the more remarkable because our planet was 870 million miles from Cassini when the image was taken, meaning it took more than an hour for the Earth light to reach the spacecraft.

Cassini has been hunting for signs of life on Saturn's moon and recently discovered that all the conditions for life to thrive exist in the oceans of Enceladus

The image resembles the well-known Pale Blue Dot image of Earth capture by Voyager 1 on February 14 1970 at a then record distance of 3.7 billion miles.

Voyager was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and take one last photograph of Earth, at the request of astronomer and author Carl Sagen.  

 

 

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