Please login in order to download photos in full size
Please note to download premium images you also need to join as a free member..
You can also save the photos without the registration - but only in small and average sizes, and some of them will have the site's watermark. Please simply click your right mouse button and save the image.
Please login in order to like photos
If you are not registered, please register for free:
Sorry, non-members can download up to 100 full-size photos per month.
It looks like you have used up your limit.
Join as a member today for FREE! - and download the images without limitations:
You can also save the images without the membership - but only in small and average sizes, and some of them may have the site's watermark. Please simply click your right mouse button and save the image.
|This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA and ESA. Hubble material is copyright-free and may be freely used as in the public domain without fee, on the condition that NASA and ESA is credited as the source of the material. The material was created for NASA by Space Telescope Science Institute and for ESA by the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre under Contract NAS5-26555. Copyright statement at hubblesite.org or copyright statement at spacetelescope.org.|
Original Caption Released with Image: Looming like a giant flying saucer in our outer solar system, Saturn puts on a show as the planet and its magnificent ring system nod majestically over the course of its 29-year journey around the Sun. A series of Hubble Space Telescope images, captured from 1996 to 2000, show Saturn's rings open up from just past edge-on to nearly fully open as it moves from autumn towards winter in its Northern Hemisphere (for the composite view of all images seePIA03156.
Saturn's equator is tilted relative to its orbit by 27 degrees, very similar to the 23-degree tilt of the Earth. As Saturn moves along its orbit, first one hemisphere, then the other is tilted towards the Sun. This cyclical change causes seasons on Saturn, just as the changing orientation of Earth's tilt causes seasons on our planet. The first image in this sequence, on the lower left, was taken soon after the autumnal equinox in Saturn's Northern Hemisphere (which is the same as the spring equinox in its Southern Hemisphere). By the final image in the sequence, on the upper right, the tilt is nearing its extreme, or winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere).
Astronomers are studying this set of images to investigate the detailed variations in the color and brightness of the rings. They hope to learn more about the rings' composition, how they were formed, and how long they might last. Saturn's rings are incredibly thin, with a thickness of only about 30 feet (10 meters). The rings are made of dusty water ice, in the form of boulder-sized and smaller chunks that gently collide with each other as they orbit around Saturn. Saturn's gravitational field constantly disrupts these ice chunks, keeping them spread out and preventing them from combining to form a moon. The rings, as shown here, have a slight pale reddish color due to the presence of organic material mixed with the water ice.
Saturn is about 75,000 miles (120,000 km) across, and is flattened at the poles because of its very rapid rotation. A day is only 10 hours long on Saturn. Strong winds account for the horizontal bands in the atmosphere of this giant gas planet. The delicate color variations in the clouds are due to smog in the upper atmosphere, produced when ultraviolet radiation from the Sun shines on methane gas. Deeper in the atmosphere, the visible clouds and gases merge gradually into hotter and denser gases, with no solid surface for visiting spacecraft to land on.
The Cassini/Huygens spacecraft, launched from Earth in 1997, is well on its way to the Saturn system. It will arrive in 2004 to land a probe on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, and to orbit the planet for four years for a detailed study of the entire Saturn system.
These images of Saturn were taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 onboard Hubble. Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)Acknowledgment: R.G. French (Wellesley College), J. Cuzzi (NASA/Ames), L. Dones (SwRI), and J. Lissauer (NASA/Ames)
All photos in average size can be saved by everyone without registration (by right-clicking) - and all photos can be downloaded in full-size and without the big watermark by members (by left-clicking) (registration and free membership required).
While the copyright and licensing information supplied for each photo is believed to be accurate, Free-Photos.biz does not provide any warranty regarding the copyright status or correctness of licensing terms. If you decide to reuse the images from Free-Photos.biz, you should verify the copyright status of each image just as you would when obtaining images from other sources.
The use of depictions of living or deceased persons may be restricted in some jurisdictions by laws regarding personality rights. Such images are exhibited at Free-Photos.biz as works of art that serve higher artistic interests.