I thought it was going to be impossible to best the Saturn eclipse image taken by Cassini on September 15, 2006, but I was wrong. This one, taken on July 19, 2013, it's even more impressive‚ÄĒthe shadows and highlights, the halo, the exquisite details and gradients. A true planetary photographic masterpiece.

This was taken the day that people on Earth were told to say hi to Cassini as it took the photo. NASA's description of this natural color image, which spans about 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across from left to right:

With the sun's powerful and potentially damaging rays eclipsed by Saturn itself, Cassini's onboard cameras were able to take advantage of this unique viewing geometry. They acquired a panoramic mosaic of the Saturn system that allows scientists to see details in the rings and throughout the system as they are backlit by the sun. This mosaic is special as it marks the third time our home planet was imaged from the outer solar system; the second time it was imaged by Cassini from Saturn's orbit; and the first time ever that inhabitants of Earth were made aware in advance that their photo would be taken from such a great distance.

With both Cassini's wide-angle and narrow-angle cameras aimed at Saturn, Cassini was able to capture 323 images in just over four hours. This final mosaic uses 141 of those wide-angle images.


Here's the image at 4000px resolution (you can download a 8000px one here.)

Expand this one to look at the position of the different planets and moons in the shot.