Hubble telescope shows how summertime looks at Saturn
New Delhi : NASA and ESA’s Hubble space telescope has captured a breathtaking image of Saturn and its rings to show how summertime looks in the planet’s northern hemisphere. Also, the two dots in the right and at the bottom are Mimas and Enceladus, Saturn's icy moons.
As Saturn completes its one orbit around the sun our Earth makes 30 orbits around the sun in the same time. So, Hubble is able to observe Saturn every year around the time when Earth completes a lap around the slowpoke gas giant.
As mentioned by the NASA, the shared image was clicked by Hubble as part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) project on July 4 when Saturn was just 839 million miles away from the Earth.
In this image, Hubble was able to capture the summer in the planet's northern hemisphere. For those who don’t know, Saturn has seasons as it is also tilted on its axis just like Earth.
Saturn’s yellowish-brown colour is due to the atmosphere majorly consisting of hydrogen and helium with some ammonia, methane, water vapour, and hydrocarbons. In the image, the reddish haze over the northern hemisphere seen in the colour composite picture might be due to increased temperature due to the extra sunlight during summer.
Principal Investigator of the Hubble’s Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program, Amy Simon from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center explains, "It's amazing that even over a few years, we're seeing seasonal changes on Saturn."