Two Views of Home
Date: 22 Jul 2013
These images show views of Earth and the moon from NASA's Cassini (left) and MESSENGER spacecraft (right) from 19 July 2013.
In the Cassini image, the wide-angle camera has captured Saturn's rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. Earth, which is 1.44 billion km (898 million miles) away in this image, appears as a blue dot at center right; the moon can be seen as a fainter protrusion off its right side. An arrow indicates their location in the annotated version. (More information about this image can be found at PIA17071). The other bright dots nearby are stars.
In the MESSENGER image, Earth and the moon appear as a pair of bright star-like features. MESSENGER was at a distance of 98 million km (61 million miles) from Earth when it took this image with the wide-angle camera of the Mercury Dual Imaging System.
MESSENGER took this image as part of a campaign to search for natural satellites of Mercury. Earth and the moon appear very large in this picture because they are overexposed. When looking for potentially dim satellites, long exposures are required to capture as much light as possible. Consequently, bright objects in the field of view become saturated and appear artificially large. In fact, Earth and the moon are each less than a pixel in size, and no details on either can be seen.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/JHUAPL