CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

A Day to Celebrate the Pale Blue Dot

Something great, something big, something very special that's never happened before is about to happen!

On July 19, 2013, Cassini's cameras will be turned in the direction of the sun and will capture the Earth, alongside Saturn and its rings, in an event that will mark the first time Earthlings know in advance their picture is being taken from a billion miles away.

It will be a day to revel in the extraordinary achievements in the exploration of our solar system that have made such an interplanetary photo session possible. And it will be a day for all of us to smile and celebrate life on the Pale Blue Dot.

Details concerning the images that will be taken of Earth are given below. Here are other things you should know about:

- The event is called The Day The Earth Smiled

- Two contests will be held in association with The Day The Earth Smiled: one an image contest and one a musical composition contest. Consider entering! For more information, go to

- A portal for other information about this event can be found at:

- If you wish to hold a gathering or party in your area in conjunction with this event, or you would like to know of other events in your area that you might attend, visit Astronomers Without Borders , the organization coordinating events around the world.

For updates, you can return here, sign up for email announcements at or follow Carolyn Porco on:



A full end-to-end mosaic of images of the ring system will be acquired over 4 hours on July 19. The Earth will be captured in a series of images taken between 21:27 to 21:42 UTC on that day, or 14:27 and 14:42 Pacific Daylight Time. LIGHT TRAVEL TIME IS ALREADY ACCOUNTED FOR IN THESE TIMES. This means you should be out and smiling, waving and celebrating at the indicated times, adjusted of course for your time zone. For people in the Pacific Daylight Time zone, that means 2:27 pm to 2:42 pm.

To find out what time the Earth images will be taken in your country and your time zone, visit

The graphics shown here illustrate the position of our planet relative to Saturn, and the portion of Earth that will be illuminated at the time its pictures are captured. (Press release can be found here.)

Jun 18, 2013: Illuminated View - This graphic shows the view of Earth and the portion of its surface that will be illuminated during the Earth imaging event on July 19, 2013.
Jun 18, 2013: Taking Earth's Picture from Nearly 900 Million Miles Away - This simulated view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft on July 19, 2013, shows the expected positions of Saturn and Earth around the time Cassini is taking Earth's picture.
Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Jul 22, 2013 at 4:40 AM):
just saw the unprocessed image on APOD. fascinating! (but i think my photon missed the camera lens)
NeKto (Jul 19, 2013 at 4:23 PM):
i just got back in a little while ago. i have a red/orange T shirt on, so the 3.97528 X 10 to the 77th (or thereabouts) red photon from the north pole should be me.
Louise Sharples (Jul 19, 2013 at 4:16 PM):
OK, have just returned from pointing my flashlight at Saturn (I'm in the UK - on the night-side). My arms are tired, my hair is full of midges, and I'm thirsty. In order words, I had a great bonding session with Cassini. :-) Hope my 2-watt LED flashlight didn't exceed ISS-NAC's brightness limits. ;-)

Lou. xx
NeKto (Jul 19, 2013 at 7:47 AM):
i'm ready.
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jul 3, 2013 at 2:30 PM):
sandrock and others: sandrock's remarks here are incorect. The Light Travel Time has already been accounted for. So go out and smile AT THE STATED TIME, shifted of course for your time zone.
NeKto (Jul 3, 2013 at 5:41 AM):
first time i saw the date i thought i saw July 20 1913. it was obvious that couldn't be right. that is a lot farther off than the folks who misread the month. Dyslexia has its moments.
sandrock (Jun 28, 2013 at 1:10 AM):
DEChengst, a rough guess at the time it will take light to travel between the earth and saturn is about 80 minutes, so you'll have wave to Cassini about 80 minutes before the picture is taken (about 13:07 Pacfic daylight time), and you'll need to wave for 15 minutes while the series of pictures are taken ;-)
DEChengst (Jun 23, 2013 at 5:36 AM):
*polishes glasses* WHOOPS! I'll be a good boy and drink a nice beer in honor of Cassini and the imaging team while the images are being taken.
hank (Jun 21, 2013 at 6:45 PM):

July, not June.

Off by a month. Thanks for the correction, Dr. Porco.
DEChengst (Jun 20, 2013 at 1:22 PM):
Downloading shouldn't be too long. I guess today or maybe tomorrow. For the individual frames you can check the raw images website:

On processing no idea really. Could be quite some time. They need to have the time to
do it right, write a press release, okay it and put it out there. I expect amateurs to beat them to it as those only need to produce something that's aesthetically pleasing and don't have to care about being scientificly accurate. For those I would watch the Planetary Society's website:
hank (Jun 20, 2013 at 12:49 PM):
How long for the downloading and processing, if the attempt to capture the images is (was) successful? Do we know yet if it worked?
DEChengst (Jun 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM):
ARGH. Just realized my brain is out off sync by a day and I missed her :/
DEChengst (Jun 20, 2013 at 10:37 AM):
Given the time delay of light what time should I wave at her ?

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