The day Earth smiled

Saturn, eclipsing the Sun. For a much higher-resolution version, click on the image. [Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute]

My favorite image of Saturn, as it was eclipsing the Sun. Only Cassini could take this image, since Earth will never be farther from the Sun than Saturn, but the probe can. [Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute]

Updated: Friday — July 19, 2013 — between 21:27 and 21:42 Universal Time (UTC), the Cassini mission will be taking a photo mosaic of Saturn while it eclipses the Sun. That by itself is a potentially exciting event, since a previous photo stands as my favorite Saturn photo of all time (see the image at the right). However, Earth will also be in view: every human being alive will be contained in that photo.

Of course, that technically goes for every photo of Earth taken from space, but Carolyn Porco of the Cassini Imaging Team organized an event: The Day the Earth Smiled. The idea is simple: go outside and take a picture of yourself and whoever else looking up at Saturn at the time Cassini is photographing Earth. (The times listed above include light travel time from Saturn to Earth, so if you go outside during that period, it’s actually when the probe is taking the image.)

Phil Plait has more, and keep a lookout for local social events in your area. It’s a great idea, and one to bring us all together.

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3 Responses to “The day Earth smiled”


  1. 1 Kudzu July 17, 2013 at 18:55

    Won’t some of the people on Earth be on the ‘far’ side and thus obscured by the Earth itself? If multiple shots of the area where Earth is are taken, won’t the light have to be processed and smudged about? I’ll be nothing but a tiny blur!

  2. 2 Laurel Kornfeld July 17, 2013 at 19:13

    I thought the picture of Earth will be taken on July 19, not July 18.


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