Jane Houston Jones: What's Up for July. Wave at Saturn as the Cassini spacecraft takes a picture of Earth.
Hello and welcome. I'm Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Saturn is well-placed for viewing this month, revealing its northern hemisphere and a ring tilt open to 17 degrees. And July is a great month to spot Saturn's third-largest moon Iapetus.
Only July 15 and 16 you'll be able to spot our moon near Saturn.
This month Earth is also well-placed for observation by NASA's Cassini spacecraft which has been orbiting the Saturn system since July of 2004. Earth will shine from beyond the rings of Saturn while Cassini takes a mosaic of the planet and its rings on July 19. It'll take 3 hours for Cassini to snap portraits of the entire Saturn system. Then, scientists on Earth will assemble the images into a single mosaic. Earth's portrait session will last only about 15 minutes, from 2:27 to 2:42 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time or from 21:27 to 21:42 Coordinated Universal Time.
Cassini will see a crescent Earth from 898 million miles or 1.44 billion kilometers. That's when you can wave at Saturn and be part of the one-pixel portrait of Earth framed by Saturn's rings. For participants in North and South America, Saturn will be above the daytime Eastern horizon as the image is being taken.
But you won't be able to see the planet until it's dark. After dark you'll have no trouble locating Saturn. It's between the moon and Venus.
You can check out our time zone table to see what time the picture will be taken in your part of the world.
The light representing your wave will have an 80-minute trip to the open shutters on Cassini's cameras. Send images of you and your friends and family waving at Saturn or any Saturn-related pictures to our flickr page, or use the hashtag #Waveatsaturn on Facebook and Twitter.
You can read about when and where to wave on the Cassini mission's Wave at Saturn web page and read blogs by members of the Cassini team at: Saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/waveatsaturn.
And you can read about all of NASA's missions, including Cassini, at www.nasa.gov.
That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.
Page Editor: Tony Greicius