Earth Selfie Time!

The folks over at JPL have commanded the Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn to turn it’s cameras back towards the Earth today. From between 2:27 and 2:42pm PDT Cassini will be positioned behind Saturn… and the Earth will be positioned perfectly below the rings. Although the Earth will only be several pixels across it will still represent one of the iconic photos capturing our home in the cosmos.

Here is a video tour showing both the Saturn system – along with Cassini. At around the 59 second mark this shows approximately what Cassini will see when it takes our photo.

note: Original video provided by Southern Stars (makes of Sky Safari apps for iOS, Android and OSx). The video was slightly edited by LookUpTonight to include some additional text information during the video.

Further information on the event

Public viewing at the Griffith Observatory

These photos show what happens outside of the Griffith Observatory  every cloudless night they are open.   Telescopes are setup outside and the public can view from the (small) variety of astronomical objects which might be visible that night under the rather light-polluted skies of Los Angeles.

Tonight the public could see the Moon and the planet Saturn.

If you prefer – here is a full-screen slideshow

Let’s look at Saturn tonight.

Where to find Saturn - 9pm on Jun 10th 2011

This is really the last month this year for a chance to witness Saturn and it’s breathtaking rings and inspiring moons.  As this month progresses Saturn is setting earlier each night and it will eventually be lost in the glare of the Sun.

The image above shows Saturn on the night of July 10th 2011 at 9pm.   Saturn is the medium/bright “star” in the SW at about 37 degress high.   Far above Saturn shines the brightest star in the sky this night – Arcturus.   To Saturns left is the bright start Spica and to the left of that is the Moon.

I’ll be setting up my telescope tonight in Grant Park near Caltech in Pasadena as a treat to some of my park friends.  Anyone is welcome.  I’ll be setup at around 8pm (although it won’t really be dark until 8:30pm or later).  I’ll be there until about 9:30pm.