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You are here. See also this from Cassini, the real-life Lord of the Rings.

24 Comments

What portals you recommend about this idea.

:)

Cool one, Nick!

Thanks.

And the universe is even more magnificent and astounding than any one of the dumbo Cretins could ever imagine.

Dang, if I’d known they were taking my picture I’d have worn a nicer shirt.

Huh. Looks a lot like the Pluto/Charon system.

Which makes me wonder when the Saturnians will declassify Earth’s planetary status.

Warren Wrote:

Which makes me wonder when the Saturnians will declassify Earth’s planetary status.

Hey, as long as I get invited to their Saturnalia, I don’t care…

What exactly is the cause of the fuzziness and “cloudiness” seen?

The picture is taken *through* Saturn’s rings.

Well, and the Earth is a gazillion miles away and only a few pixels wide.

I know this is completely off-topic (except that she is in the picture!) and that there is probably a post being written about it right now, but I must say that after reading this, I want to be the first to put my bet forward about wether creationists will call it a monky or a human.

I’m betting on 70/30 - that is, 70% of the creationists will call it a monkey, and the 30% left a human. As a secondary bet, I’m thinking that a good 10% will change their answer at least once in the coming months, if pressed about the topic.

And I will bet a virtual beer against the virtual non-alcoholic beverage of my choice to whomever takes it up :D

Seriously, amazing find. Should give us good evidence on early human evolution. I particularly like both the clues about its slow brain development and the tree-swinging arms. Yet another of the supposed non-existing “missing links” has been found. If only this hadn’t created two more missing links on both sides…

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf

That is too awesome for words. Things like this make me proud and happy I´m a scientist. Thanks Nick for the link!

That is really an awe-inspiring photo. Many thanks!

A few questions come to mind:

(1) I thought the moon’s diameter is about one-fourth that of earth. How come the moon appears so much smaller than that, compared to Earth, in the picture? Was the moon crescent shaped from the point of view of the camera and this is obscured by Saturn’s rings?

(2) Are there similar pictures from far-out there with the earth appearing crescent shaped?

(3) The ratio of the albedos of the earth and moon don’t justify the ratio of their brightness in the picture. How come? I assume the picture was taken in the visible range only with no infra-red in the mix. Is that correct?

Is this a ring species? Well maybe it’s a gen[i]us of halo. (The former was brought to my attention on the MACRO - MICRO EVOLUTION page.) You are to be commended for bringing in the solar system. Always think laterally. These remarkable pictures almost certainly have much more to do with the revelation of life than one might at first imagine. I have outlined some of the possible links at my site. If we have solar system commentators I canvass opinions on the following: 1). What is the best estimate of the origin date of rings in the solar system, especially Saturn’s? 2). From what did they form? Kindly give an approximation of the composition, number, and any other relevant info. of parent bodies. 3) Can you give an approximate estimate, based on statistical probability, of the number of parent bodies of a similar composition to those which formed Saturn’s rings, in the solar system, during its existence. What I am asking for here is for an idea of the likely poulation of icy bodies travelling about our System, to allow any sort of statistical probability for one or more of them to be captured by Saturn in such a way as to account for this remarkable visible phenomenon. (I.e., I wish to know how much ice,etc. was mobile in the System, especially about the time these rings were formed, and thereby get an estimate of the probability of such bodies being in association with Earth about that time.) The reason for these questions is self-evident if you read my site. Firstly the information will go towards answering the question of moon origin. Secondly it will help address the question of the unfolding of life itself.

I am reminded once again of Douglas Adams.

“You may think it’s a long way down the street to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

The planet we stand on feels huge (and heavy) to us, but just look! It’s tiny. As are we.

I am reminded once again of Douglas Adams Terry Pratchett.

Where are the elephants and where’s the turtle?

Bruce Thompson Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

That is really an awe-inspiring photo. Many thanks!

A few questions come to mind:

Good questions…

(1) I thought the moon’s diameter is about one-fourth that of earth.

True.

How come the moon appears so much smaller than that, compared to Earth, in the picture? Was the moon crescent shaped from the point of view of the camera and this is obscured by Saturn’s rings?

Unlikely, the Earth and Moon should be in the same “phase” as viewed from Saturn. The Earth looks pretty much “full” which means the Earth is approximately on the opposite side of the sun from Saturn at the moment. So the moon would be “full” also unless in an eclipse, which I’m sure would have been mentioned.

I think the real reason is this:

1. As you note, the Moon has 1/4 the diameter of Earth

2. However, if you remember your pi*r^2, you will see that the area of the Moon’s disc (the 2 dimensional view of the sphere) is actually 1/16 of the area of the earth’s disc.

Plus the moon is darker which might affect perception when the bodies are not much bigger than the pixels.

(2) Are there similar pictures from far-out there with the earth appearing crescent shaped?

I don’t know, but somebody should do one. There is a fairly famous shot that the Galieo craft took when leaving Earth on the way to Jupiter: http://starryskies.com/The_sky/even[…]timedia.html

(3) The ratio of the albedos of the earth and moon don’t justify the ratio of their brightness in the picture. How come?

Earth’s albedo is ~0.3, the Moon’s is 0.07, so the Earth is 4+ times brighter anyway. Plus if the Earth is only a few pixels across then the Moon might be sub-pixel, producing mixed pixels that are partially black space. The images look resampled so this is hard to tell for sure about this.

I assume the picture was taken in the visible range only with no infra-red in the mix. Is that correct?

Quoth NASA: “Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this view.” So it is a “natural color” shot.

The magnified picture of earth was “taken through the clear filter (monochrome)”. I would hazard a guess that a view through the coloured filters would reduce the brightness of the picture a little. On the date it was taken (15/09/06) the moon was indeed a crescent as viewed from Earth. Not sure if that would affect the brightness of the moon from Cassini’s POV, though.

I love science. It evokes such interesting questions and such satisfying answers (thanks Carol & Nick). However, if Philip Bruce is right, the only meaningful answer is “God done it”. That’s not nearly as interesting and it certainly doesn’t lead to further questioning.

On a tangent, Philip Bruce, what the heck is a ‘poulation’?

On another tangent, Grey Wolf was right, the Ethiopian fossil was off topic, but darned interesting. Amazing how complete the skull is. The critters I work with are all in 1.5ml tubes; I’m jealous of those of you who actually get to hold our ancestors (and their cousins) in your field-grimed hands.

Population. Even Einstein mentions God in his works. Whatever he intended by that term is his business. If you love science you love something that was developed by people of whom probably 75% openly said or implied thay loved God more than science. What does that have to do with the technical detail of moon capture, as proposed at www.creationtheory.com ?

Here is a neat picture from the NASA APoD:

Sharp Silhouette

The picture was taken from Earth. The Sun is ~93,000,000 mile away, the space station and Atlantis are ~350 miles away. Click on the picture for a larger image.

If you love science you love something that was developed by people of whom probably 75% openly said or implied thay loved God more than science.

And yet those people don’t find it necessary to lie about science or to decieve others about science. For those people, science and religion coexist. Their faith is not threatened by science, unlike Creationists. They understand the difference.

Philip Bruce Heywood Wrote:

Even Einstein mentions God in his works. Whatever he intended by that term is his business.

If you’re not willing to examine what he meant by it, why bring up his mentioning it at all? And why not bring up Darwin, who was a convinced theist (unlike Einstein) until well after he wrote the Origin?

Bruce T:

The Heart of Gold is about to pickup Ford and Arthur, when we are diverted to THHGTTG’s ranting about big space is and how unlikely it is that this will happen.

Unless Adams ripped off Pratchett?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy began in 1978 (and I believe the quote was in the original radio version). Discworld started in 1983. If anyone was ripped off, it was Adams.

This is a test.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on September 20, 2006 12:07 AM.

The Altruism Equation was the previous entry in this blog.

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