Do you have a favourite planet in the solar system? Is it the cool blue Neptune? The curious red Mars? Perhaps the swirly Jupiter? Or maybe you even go for the classic standby and mother of us all... Earth? (Never a bad choice!)
Each planet — even the viciously dense heat of Venus — has something that makes it worthy of fandom. But let's face it. None of them have it going on like Saturn.
That's why we're grateful for the brand-new image at the top of this post. Taken on June 20, 2019 and just released by NASA, it shows everything there is to marvel at on this majestic planet. The crisp, icy rings. The endless bands of clouds. The rich, mighty storms that look so calm from a distance, yet contain Earth-sized super hurricanes. Awesome!
Since you're in the neighbourhood
When the subject is as great as Saturn, you really don't need an occasion to take a photo. But this image — taken by the Hubble Space Telescope — has a backstory. For one, this past June, Saturn was at its closest point to Earth, around 1.36 billion km (845 million miles) away.
And this photo is also a part of a larger program called OPAL (Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy). This program is all about recording high-quality images of the four gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) year to year so that scientists can record the changes that occur over time.
So what does this picture reveal? Thankfully, NASA also produced a video to walk us through the highlights. Watch it below!