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News Release Archive:

News Release 657 of 949

October 21, 1998 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1998-28

Astronomers Unveil Colorful Hubble Photo Gallery

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Image: Saturn in Natural Colors

Saturn in Natural ColorsSTScI-PRC1998-29

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has provided images of Saturn in many colors, from black-and-white, to orange, to blue, green, and red. But in this picture, image processing specialists have worked to provide a crisp, extremely accurate view of Saturn, which highlights the planet's pastel colors. Bands of subtle color — yellows, browns, grays — distinguish differences in the clouds over Saturn, the second largest planet in the solar system.

Saturn's high-altitude clouds are made of colorless ammonia ice. Above these clouds is a layer of haze or smog, produced when ultraviolet light from the sun shines on methane gas. The smog contributes to the planet's subtle color variations. One of Saturn's moons, Enceladus, is seen casting a shadow on the giant planet as it passes just above the ring system.

The flattened disk swirling around Saturn is the planet's most recognizable feature, and this image displays it in sharp detail. This is the planet's ring system, consisting mostly of chunks of water ice. Although it appears as if the disk is composed of only a few rings, it actually consists of tens of thousands of thin "ringlets." This picture also shows the two classic divisions in the ring system. The narrow Encke Gap is nearest to the disk's outer edge; the Cassini division, is the wide gap near the center.

Scientists study Saturn and its ring system to gain insight into the birth of our solar system.

Object Name: Saturn

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA)

NEWS RELEASE IMAGES

The above image is part of a montage:

Montage Image: Heritage Montage Image Type: Astronomical Heritage Montage Black Hole-Powered Spiral Galaxy NGC 7742 Image Type: Astronomical Black Hole-Powered Spiral Galaxy NGC 7742PRC1998-28 The Sagittarius Star Cloud: A Sky Full of Glittering Jewels Image Type: Astronomical The Sagittarius Star Cloud: A Sky Full of Glittering JewelsPRC1998-30 The Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) Image Type: Astronomical The Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635)PRC1998-31

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