1. Earth, as Seen From Saturn (January 16, 2007)
April 28, 2009--
They're the best of Earth, as judged by Earthlings. NASA's Earth Observatory today announced the ten most popular pictures of our home planet from its Image of the Day
catalog, the culmination of a user-voted contest marking the tenth anniversary of the observatory's Web site.
Providing many a computer wallpaper for space-savvy Internet users, the daily-updated site showcases images from NASA missions that collect information about Earth.
The most popular image was captured by instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft and digitally composited by NASA illustrators to show Saturn and its rings--and a tiny, dot-size Earth, seen from almost a billion miles (more than a billion kilometers) away.
At the precise moment shown, Saturn was positioned between Cassini and the sun, so that the probe's cameras didn't have to contend with the star's intense glare. In addition to revealing Earth in the distance, being in Saturn's shadow helped the satellite spy previously unseen faint rings around the gas giant.
Image courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute, Earth Observatory