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Friday, September 20, 2013
Comrade Misfit posted this picture yesterday, but it took a day for it to sink in. This picture was taken by the Cassini probe that is out orbiting Saturn (see the portion of the rings at the top of the picture). The arrow is pointing to the Earth.
What do you see when you look at the night sky? Stars, that's what. Occasionally you will see a planet, but you only know it's a planet because it's extra bright. The interesting thing about this picture is that, one, the Earth is visible, and, two, there are hardly any stars visible. Of course, Earth and Saturn cannot be anywhere near in line with the Sun or you wouldn't see anything besides the Sun, which probably means six months of the year (3 months when the Earth is on the far side of Sun, and 3 months when it is on the near side).
This means that if we ever manage to make a trip to another star system, we should be able to pick out any planets with our naked eyes. Okay, not naked to the pain of space, but you wouldn't need any telescopic assistance.