Once in a while, an image comes along that really helps to put the sheer size of Saturn into perspective. Check this out:
Is that beautiful or what? This is a near-infrared image of Saturn taken by the Casini Spacecraft on August 20, 2012. Casini was about 18 degrees south of Saturn’s equator. Sunlight was coming in from the northern latitudes, so the rings are backlit and cast a deep shadow “band” in Saturn’s southern hemisphere.
But take a look at the full-size version of the image. See that little speck up top? That’s Saturn’s moon Mimas, and it’s just a speck!
Now as moons go, Mimas is rather small, just 246 miles (396 kilometers) across. But it’s easy to lose sight of exactly how small that is compared to Saturn when we see images of the moon or of the planet by themselves.
And Saturn is big. Really big. Like, 74,897 miles (120,536 kilomieters) across at it’s equator big.
Obviously, 74,897 is way more than 246, but it’s hard to comprehend the vast difference in scale between these two worlds until you can see them together like this. It’s a visual reminder of the sheer diversity of worlds within our solar system.