Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos!
Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is
featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional
August 1, 1995
Crossing The Ring Plane
Credit: NASA, Hubble Space Telescope
"I do not know what to say in a case so surprising,
so unlooked for and so novel." announced
Galileo when Saturn's rings
appeared to vanish in 1612. In fact,
every 15 years Saturn's rings seem to almost disappear as viewed from the
Earth. This happens just as the orbiting Earth
crosses the plane of Saturn's
rings. The edge on perspective temporarily robs astronomers of a
spectacular sight, however, the ring plane crossing affords them the
opportunity to measure the rings' thickness and search for
In this image of Saturn, produced on May 22, 1995 by NASA's
Hubble Space Telescope,
two of Saturn's, known moons are visible as star
like objects to the left of the planet.
For more information about the ring plane crossing see the
Saturn Ring Plane Crossing web page .
Tomorrow's picture: Jupiter's Rings
| About APOD
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.:
Specific rights apply.
A service of:
Michigan Tech. U.