9 / 40

Amazing Space Photos

Astronomers searching the skies for distant planets have detected two Saturn-sized worlds orbiting distant suns, the smallest planets found thus far outside our solar system. The discovery boosted the likelihood that even smaller planets - perhaps the size of Earth - exist elsewhere in the universe, Professor Steve Vogt of the University of California-Santa Cruz said. This artists concept shows a view of the discovered planet orbiting 79 Ceti. Reuters

Wow! NASA Probes See Earth & Moon from Saturn, Mercury

NASA has unveiled spectacular portraits of Earth and its moon from billions of miles away in images captured on July 19 and released by the teams behind the agency's Cassini spacecraft at Saturn and its Messenger probe at Mercury. In the photos from Saturn, Earth appears as a tiny pinprick of light amid the haunting rings and glowing sphere of Saturn, which Cassini has been orbiting since 2004. Though the picture doesn't show it, more than 20,000 people on Earth waved at Saturn at just the time the photo was taken, as NASA had coordinated a plan to involve as many Earthlings as possible in the portrait. The cosmic picture took advantage of a rare total eclipse of the sun from Saturn, which allowed Cassini's sensitive cameras to image Earth without being damaged from looking directly toward the sun, which appears to lie very close to our planet from the perspective of Saturn. The photo shows Earth from a vantage point of 898 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers) away.