ITHACA, NY.- The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University presents Spectacular Saturn: Images from the Cassini-Huygens Mission, on view through January 4, 2009.
This exhibit displays over fifty images of the planet Saturn, its rings, and its satellites. This selection, by Cornell members of the Cassini project, was made from almost two hundred thousand images that have been transmitted to Earth since the Cassini spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004. It also includes a few images taken by Huygens, a companion lander that parachuted through the dense atmosphere to the surface of Saturn's intriguing moon, Titan. The stunningly beautiful images were chosen to emphasize the dynamic nature of the system and the interactions of moons and rings, as well as to explore Titan and Enceladus, two satellites with environments that might be hospitable to life.
Cassini was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on October 15, 1997. Rather than flying directly to Saturn, it first looped twice around the Sun, taking advantage of two gravity-assists from Venus and one from Earth to catapult it to the outer solar system, where it got another assist from Jupiter. After a nearly seven-year trip, Cassini reached Saturn in 2004. Cassini released the Huygens probe, which touched down on Titan's surface in 2005--the first spacecraft ever to land on a moon other than our own.
A spacecraft model will also be on view. The scale model is one-fourth the size of the actual spacecraft, which is 6.7 meters (22 feet) high and 4 meters (13 feet) wide--about the size of a truck.. There will also be a special display of historical books about Saturn from Cornell's Carl A. Kroch Library Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.
A façade projection of images from Saturn will be seen on the east side of the Museum from sunset until 11:00 p.m. between October 2 to 26.