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Friday, 09 September 2011


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What is it with Samuel Barber and his bloody Adagio for Strings that holds some grip on otherwise sensible people? Throw it in the damn vault with Pachelbel's Canon. This is getting Warholian!



simply stunning!

Might be the most beautiful space picture I have ever seen. Thanks Mike!

Music aside, the images are stunning.

One thing that's great about this photo is that it could only be taken from space, beyond thse orbit of Saturn. There's no gear buying that would ever allow us TOP readers to accomplish it.

But it's all a bit gimmicky if you ask me :-)

Quite a famous photo this one. Because you can see us (planet earth) if you look very carefully..

The resolution of the Cassini cameras? 1024x1024 pixels, yes, that's right, one screamin' megapixel. They're also fixed focus since all the targets are at infinity.

Remember, its not the camera :-)

What camera and lens setup did they use-was it a Canon or Nikon? Was it a full frame, or M4/3 compact?

It is probably a prime lens, because in space, it is much easier to zoom with your feet (although not easy to find a place to stand).

Pardon the wiseguy remarks- it is a beautiful image. Thanks for bringing to our attention.

I don't know--looking at the big version I think they blew some of the highlights in the rings. : )

Wow, I can feel my heart's beat speed up from looking at this photo. It's simply amazing.

I love the imagery & Adagio. It always slows me down, and shifts me into introspection for a while. Not a bad thing-at least for me. Other's mileage may vary as with most music.

Those who like such pictures (me! me!) should keep an eye on the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). Sometimes they even stoop to terrestrial pictures, generally night shots with sky or spectacular weather.

A lot of the NASA stuff is available in high-res form online, and I just got email that Costco is having a 25% off sale in their photo-center this weekend. Maybe I should do some 20x30 prints of NASA material.

kevin is not entirely correct, it *is* a 1024x1024 camera, but it is B&W only. It uses a filter wheel to get various colors. So it basically boils down to the same argument we had about the Foveon sensor. I would say that the actual image is a whopping 3MP image 8^).

Note that the "big" image you linked to is 2766 x 1364, so it might also have been a panoramic image.


What is causing the bright halo immediately surrounding the planet? Is it diffraction or some kind of atmosphere scattering?

But do the rings print best with or without using the printer driver?

Re Mike's comment "photography lets me see more things than I can see with my own eyes.", this was a premise for a large exhibition a few years ago at the National Gallery of Canada entitled "Beauty of Another Order: Photography in Science" (catalogue still listed at Amazon).
It included daguerrotype astro-photography amongst many other wonders. I found the NASA photograph connected me right back to the works in that show, thanks for drawing our attention to it


Fortunately, we didn't see any braiding of the rings. (A joke for hard-core SF fans. :))

BTW, anybody knows how did they get the 2K, 4K and 5.6K images? Simple upscaling of the finished composites or the compositing played a role?

Wow, that's different to any other image of Saturn I've seen. I'm surprised there is enough light to illuminate the dark-side rings; I assume being a gas giant there is enough diffraction to bounce the light around the planet.

When I saw this I thought I'd gone to the Bad Astronomer's blog by mistake! and on that note you might like this;

and from way out in leftfield;

best wishes phil

Dear Kevin,

Well, they cheated-- it's a pano stitch. Digital trickery, obviously not REAL photography {vbg}.

For further info:


pax / Ctein

"Remember, its not the camera"
Yeah but the support it's bolted to cost a pretty penny. Oh well, doesn't Woody Allan say something like "Eighty percent of success is showing up"? I guess the other twenty percent is shooting at f/8.

Regarding the video. It looks fake. I believe them when they say it is made from real photos but, still, it *looks* fake. What do we do when the real world looks photoshopped?

Dunno, looks shopped to me.

I'm SO blown away by the ultra-remarkable images from space that have surfaced the past decade. When I start searching through NASA's image site, I tend to not eat or drink for hours. I have several enlargements hanging on my wall. This one of Jupiter looks especially nice as a 20x20:


Laurence S.

Eat your heart out Stanley Kubrick...

The video shouldn't have had Barber on the soundtrack, it should have been Ligeti!

Whil Whitaker, perhaps this music would be more to your liking. The film it accompanies is not dissimilar! : )


Off-topic: Photography Blog has photos from the Pentax Q at http://tinyurl.com/3esnbo4

To me the photos look very digital (synthetic) and lack the sense of realism that a G12 can deliver. The Q has a standard prime and I'm no fan of zooms, but my impression is that if you're after a tool for the production of images then a S95, G12, XZ-1, or TL500/EX1 would be more pleasing (the latter two only at low ISO setings).

The video shouldn't have had Barber on the soundtrack, it should have been Ligeti!


See what you can do when you work at getting a back-lit shot of a familiar subject?

You would not see this even if you were "there". The image as shown is an artifact of how the data were processed-- an extreme example of HDR, if you will.

It is beautiful in its own right, though, even it is not what I normally think of as photography.

Dear Hugh,

It often happens in astronomy that the mount costs a LOT more than the telescope (check out the gear that a lot of the top amateur astrophotographers are using at their websites). This is kind of the ultimate extension of that.


Dear Darin,

It's a real reaction and it's actually kinda profound. If you ever see a total solar eclipse, you'll have the same feeling-- it just has to be faked, because nothing in the real world is ever that clean and smooth and noise-free.

It's a real problem for the CGI folk-- getting the models to look as messy and gritty as everyday life. Perfection looks unnatural to us.

Also why over-massaged photos -- too much smoothing and sharpening-- immediately hit us as being wrong.

pax / Ctein

Dunno, looks shopped to me.

It's because it is Photoshopped. Not only they had to stack images taken with different filters to get the colour, they had to clean up the photo. And they most probably used false colour for non-visible-light information.

Here is a collection of Cassini images, for those who are interested...


Stunning images Mike!

Now I wait for the comments on the GBP and the touch-down return as shown on the BBC today lol


I have this picture of some person working the night shift at NASA with a cup of coffee next to the monitor thinking "well I wonder how those pictures of Saturn are coming along?".
He (or she) hits the enter key and that pops up on the screen.
I'd have to shove a nitro pill under my tongue.

That business about "tying an NFL record" has always seemed silly to me. The upshot is, every now and then somebody runs the whole length of the field. Nattering about a yard or two more or less in the end zone is immaterial.

But...I missed the game. Can you believe it?


This is indeed a beautiful photo of Saturn. Brings me back good memories from childhood, when I liked gazing stars with my mother every night.

I wasn't able to see Saturn with my naked eyes until 2 years ago, but I was always fascinated by Saturn and its rings;-)



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