NASA has just released a beautiful composite photo of Saturn with all its rings. Taken by the Cassini spacecraft on July 19, the photograph was the result of a rare celestial arrangement which allowed the probe to capture the Sun, the Earth, and Saturn all in the same image.
It is a breathtaking encapsulation of natural wonder, made all the more mind-bending by its extraordinary circumstance.
Aware of the impending photo op, astronomer Dr. Carolyn Porco put together a project to coincide with the same time frame as the photo. She asked that people across the globe gather with friends and family to "contemplate the utter isolation of our world in the never-ending blackness of space, relish its lush, life-sustaining beauty, appreciate the rarity it is among the Sun's planets, and marvel at your own existence and that of all life on planet Earth."
The key is below:
Thousands of people participated in the event, called The Day the Earth Smiled. As Cassini captured the remarkable moment, people across the world stood in awe of the majesty of space. The result is an astounding image of a inspiring story.
Click the image below for a high-resolution version:
NASA has managed to capture the silent beauty of the universe, and with it, our small role in observing and being awed by the unending cosmos.