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Looking at Uranus: Cassini spacecraft photographs another 'pale blue dot'

Uranus appears as a tiny blue dot in the upper left of this image from the Cassini spacecraft; Saturn's A and F rings are partially visible in the middle and bottom of the image.
Uranus appears as a tiny blue dot in the upper left of this image from the Cassini spacecraft; Saturn's A and F rings are partially visible in the middle and bottom of the image.
NASA / JPL-Caltech

The Cassini spacecraft, still in orbit around Saturn, has taken another "wow" photograph of something other than the ringed giant planet - the much more distant ice giant planet Uranus!

Cassini had previously photographed the Earth - the famous "pale blue dot" as seen from deep space - and now has done the same with another pale blue dot in the solar system, Uranus. Like Earth, Uranus appears as a blue speck in the distance, since it's predominantly methane atmosphere is pale blue in colour. The new image was taken on April 14, 2014. Portions of Saturn's A and F rings can also be seen in the image.

Uranus is currently about 28.6 astronomical units away from Saturn, nearly on the other side of the Sun. One astronomical unit is equivalent to 93 million miles (150 million kilometers), the average distance of the Earth from the Sun.

The image helps to remind us how immense the solar system is; even though Saturn is of course much closer to Uranus than Earth, Uranus is still so distant again from Saturn that it appears only as a bright dot.