Photographs of Earth taken from space are among the most iconic images in the history of space exploration. Think of the famed “Earthrise” photo from Apollo 8 or the “Pale Blue Dot” shot of our home taken from beyond the orbit of Neptune by Voyager 1 in 1990. The Cassini team is aiming to make another Earth portrait from Saturn later this month.
July 19, 2013 will be The Day the Earth Smiled, and Cassini will snap our portrait, with a silhouette of Saturn eclipsing the Sun in the foreground, between 21:27 and 21:42 UTC that day.
“It will be a day for all the world to celebrate,” said Carolyn Porco of the Space Science Institute in Boulder Colorado, the imaging team leader for Cassini.
“Ever since we caught sight of the Earth among the rings of Saturn in September 2006 in a mosaic that has become one of Cassini's most beloved images, I have wanted to do it all over again, only better,” said Porco. “This time, I wanted to turn the entire event into an opportunity for everyone around the globe, at the same time, to savor the uniqueness of our beautiful blue-ocean planet and the preciousness of the life on it.”
Astronomers Without Borders is coordinating worldwide celebrations of The Day the Earth Smiled; you can register yours on the AWB website. Please join us in looking up, smiling at Saturn, and celebrating our portrait, and our planet, July 19. Read more about The Day the Earth Smiled.