Saturn's Rings Edge-on
March 21, 2003
In one of nature's most dramatic examples of 'now-you see-them, now-you-don't', NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured Saturn on May 22, 1995 as the planet's magnificent ring system turned edge-on. This ring-plane crossing occurs approximately every 15 years when the Earth passes through Saturn's ring plane. For comparison, the top picture was taken by Hubble on December 1, 1994 and shows the rings in a more familiar configuration for Earth observers. The bottom picture was taken shortly before the ring plane crossing. The rings do not disappear completely because the edge of the rings reflects sunlight.
Topics: Planetary ring, Saturn, Hubble Space Telescope, Edge, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Rings of Uranus, Rings of Saturn, Human Interest