NASA/ESA, A. Simon/GSFC/M.H. Wong/University of California, Berkeley/OPAL Team

Hubble Snapped A New Portrait Of Saturn And The Detail Is Breathtaking

caitlyn.clancey 13 Sep 2019

I don't know about anyone else, but space has always simultaneously fascinated me and freaked me out. The idea of what's out there (and what could be out there) makes my mind spin. I mean, how are we supposed to even fathom something that's infinite? It's just impossible.

But if there's any comfort to be found, it's in knowing that our solar system is at least somewhat understood by scientists, and we have a pretty good idea of what's out there in the way of planets. My personal favorite? Saturn.

If you don't know about Saturn, you should really look it up because this planet is COOL.

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It's easily the most recognizable, next to Earth of course, since it has those beautiful rings of ice inexplicably surrounding it. But beyond its fancy floating accessory, this planet is actually quite incredible.

For instance, did you know that Saturn has 62 moons, or that one season on Saturn can last over seven years? (I'm sure the Game of Thrones characters can totally relate to this kind of weather pattern.)

Until recently, it was unclear just how long one day is on Saturn, but now astronomers agree the average day is 10 hours, 32 minutes and 35 seconds. Which is good enough for me, thanks. No more time necessary.

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope recently snapped some stunning new images of this planet and its magnificent rings.

NASA/ESA, A. Simon/GSFC/M.H. Wong/University of California, Berkeley/OPAL Team

According to CNN, the planet was approaching Earth on June 20, and Hubble managed to capture the spectacular view in a serious of shots, one of which has become Saturn's official 2019 portrait.

Technically, Saturn was still 845,064,821 miles away, but in space, that's pretty darn close. It was also tilted towards us, offering the perfect view of its tell-tale rings.

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Judging from the resulting photos, I think it's safe to say that Saturn is one super photogenic planet.

But according to NASA, what we're seeing in Hubble's latest images aren't merely beauty shots, as stunning as they might be. Instead, "they reveal a planet with a turbulent, dynamic atmosphere."

For instance, this year's portrait reveals that a large storm that was visible on last year's portrait has since vanished.

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Hubble spends a lot of time looking at the planets within our solar system and snapping the best pics of them possible.

NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center) and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley

Just last month, the telescope captured a brand new portrait of Jupiter and all its vivid colors, the effect of which is kind of reminiscent of a marble. The photo features Jupiter's swirling clouds and its Great Red Spot, which is a high-pressure region in the middle of the planet that produces an anticyclonic storm — the largest in the solar system.

Pretty cool stuff, but I'm still firm on Saturn being my favorite planet. You just can't beat those rings.

h/t: CNN, NASA

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