Today’s partial Solar eclipse is off to a great start here in Witney, where the cloud cover is working as a perfect solar filter.
The eclipse culminated here as a smiling, Cheshire cat-style grin 🙂
Smile for the camera… in space! In fact it’s cameras as two spacecraft will be taking images of the Earth tonight – there might still be time to get your hair done. The two spacecraft are Cassini and Messenger and although you’ll not even be a pixel in this image – the concept is quite fun.
This idea was started by Carolyn Porco and the Cassini team. A few years ago they created an amazing mosaic image of the Saturnian system, see below, which featured a tiny, pale blue dot: the Earth. It’s just up- and left-of-centre in the image below.
The image is quite astonishing and so they decided to try to organise a new photo of the Earth by Cassini but to rally the world to pay attention and #waveatsaturn this time. This unique photograph (aren’t all photos unique?) will be taken tonight (July 19th) between 21:27 and 21:47 UTC (see other time zones here).
The only problem is that not all the world will be facing Saturn at this moment – you can only look at half of it at once after all. This is where Messenger steps in. Messenger is in orbit around Mercury and will also image the Earth today and tomorrow. Today’s time slots have passed by tomorrow Messenger will image the Earth at 11:49, 12:38, and 13:41 UTC.
So get ready to pose for the camera. These are the ultimate aerial shots.