The international Cassini spacecraft took amazing images of Venus shining through Saturn’s rings. Venus and Saturn are about 1,321,200,000 km (820,955,619 miles or 8.83 astronomical units) apart on average. Venus is brighter in Saturn’s skies than Earth is, however, because Venus is covered in thick sulfuric acid clouds, it makes it very bright.
Venus is, along with Mercury, Earth and Mars, one of the rocky terrestrial planets of the inner Solar System. It has a similar size, mass and rocky composition to Earth. Under a thick, choking atmosphere of carbon dioxide and sulphuric dioxide clouds the surface pressure is nearly 100 times greater than on Earth, with surface temperature reaching 500ºC – the hottest planetary surface in the Solar System. Venus’ permanent sulphur clouds reflect plentiful sunlight, making it shine brightly in the night sky, even from a distant viewpoint in the outer Solar System.
Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 4, 2013, at a distance of approximately 371,000 miles (597,000 kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 20 miles (32 kilometers) per pixel. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
Last November Cassini was placed in the shadow of Saturn. This allowed Cassini to look in the direction of the Sun and take a backlit image of the planet and its rings.
The Cassini–Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and ASI, the Italian space agency. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
See more about these images at the CICLOPS (Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations) website.
If you value what we do here, create your ad-free account and support our journalism.
Your support makes a difference
Dear valued reader,
We hope that our website has been a valuable resource for you.
The reality is that it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to maintain and grow this website. We rely on the support of readers like you to keep providing high-quality content.
If you have found our website to be helpful, please consider making a contribution to help us continue to bring you the information you need. Your support means the world to us and helps us to keep doing what we love.
Support us by choosing your support level – Silver, Gold or Platinum. Other support options include Patreon pledges and sending us a one-off payment using PayPal.
Thank you for your consideration. Your support is greatly appreciated.