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Amazing Space Photos

Handout picture released June 14, 2005 shows an artist's conception of a newly discovered planet being shown as a hot, rocky, geologically active world glowing in the deep red light of its nearby parent star, the M dwarf Gliese 876. The heat and the reddish light are among the few things about the new planet that are certain, depending on the thickness and composition of its atmosphere - if any - it could range from being a barren, cratered ball of rock like Mercury or the Moon, to being a featureless, cloud-shrouded cue-ball like Venus. REUTERS/Trent Schindler/National Science Foundation/Handout HK/KS

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.