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Cassini Images of Saturn

My favorite images of this week have to be the ones captured by the Cassini spacecraft of Saturn, it's rings and orbiting moons.  The images, which I stumbled upon at the Boston Globe's Big Picture section, are made up of many composite photos recorded over a period of time and 'beamed' back to us here on earth.  Stunning, haunting and surreal, the images are both atestament to modern technology and the awesome beauty of nature. I also have to take my hat off to the technical engineers at NASA who have taken the hundreds of raw photographs and blended them into clean images which show the detail of the rings, moons and planet without resorting to 'super realism' or any kind of enhancements that might have made them look artificial. My favorite images include the shot of the moons Rhea and Titan eclipsing the sun, and the image of the moon Epimetheus within Saturn's rings, with Titan behind.  This second image was carefully colorized by compositing the shots taken with various lenses, in order to create a rough approximation of how it would appear to a human eye. The spacecraft is scheduled to complete it's mission in September 2010,  but this particular voyage is already an extension of a previous mission, and given that it continues to be in great shape and send back such amazing information it is likely that NASA will keep the craft in space for even longer, so we can look forward to seeing even more great photographs from space. See the full set of Cassini images from Saturn here.