Hubble Telescope Snaps Quadruple Moon Transit of Saturn


A rare opportunity was taken by Hubble astronomers who photographed a quadruple moon transit of Saturn during a period when the planet's rings are tilted edge on to Earth:

"Because the orbits of Saturn's major satellites are in the ring plane, too, this alignment gives astronomers a rare opportunity to capture a truly spectacular parade of celestial bodies crossing the face of Saturn. Leading the parade is Saturn's giant moon Titan – larger than the planet Mercury. The frigid moon’s thick nitrogen atmosphere is tinted orange with the smoggy byproducts of sunlight interacting with methane and nitrogen. Several of the much smaller icy moons that are closer in to the planet line up along the upper edge of the rings. Hubble’s exquisite sharpness also reveals Saturn's banded cloud structure."

Watch a time-lapse clip with narration, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted March 17, 2009 at 10:08am ETC by Andy Towle
in News, Space