Bt_saturn_blue_and_gold

Saturn in Blue and Gold

If a human hovered close to the giant ringed planet, she would see Saturn as partly blue. In March 2006, the robot Cassini spacecraft, still orbiting Saturn, snapped this image of the planet in gold and blue. 

NASA explains why Saturn can be seen sporting UC Berkeley's colors:  

Here Saturn's majestic rings appear directly only as a thin vertical line. The rings show their complex structure in the dark shadows they create on the image left. Saturn's fountain moon Enceladus, only about 500 kilometers across, is seen as the bump in the plane of the rings. The northern hemisphere of Saturn can appear partly blue for the same reason that Earth's skies can appear blue -- molecules in the cloudless portions of both planet's atmospheres are better at scattering blue light than red. When looking deep into Saturn's clouds, however, the natural gold hue of Saturn's clouds becomes dominant. It is not known why southern Saturn does not show the same blue hue -- one hypothesis holds that clouds are higher there. It is also not known why Saturn's clouds are colored gold.

Image credit: NASA

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