Tim McFarlane


High Above Saturn
This portrait looking down on Saturn and its rings was created from images obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Oct. 10, 2013. It was made by amateur image processor and Cassini fan Gordan Ugarkovic. This image has not been geometrically corrected for shifts in the spacecraft perspective and still has some camera artifacts.The mosaic was created from 12 image footprints with red, blue and green filters from Cassini’s imaging science subsystem. Ugarkovic used full color sets for 11 of the footprints and red and blue images for one footprint.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/G. Ugarkovic

On March 25, 1655 Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens discovered the first moon of Saturn, later named Titan.  Huygens did it with the help of his brother Constantijn, also an astronomer, with a telescope they built themselves.  
Huygens called it Saturni Luna, Latin for Saturn’s Moon in his publication of the discovery, New Observations of Saturn’s Moon.  When the next five moons of Saturn were discovered a few decades later, astronomers began referring to them by number, Saturn I through Saturn VI, though the list was not sequential and Titan was variously named Saturn I, IV and even VI.  The name Titan was given 50 years after Huygen’s death by astronomer John Herschel, son of Anglo-German astronomer William Herschel in John Herschel’s 1857 publication  Results of Astronomical Observations Made at the Cape of Good Hope.  He named the moons after the twelve titans (Τῑτάν), the mythical race of deities that preceded the traditional canon of Greek deities.  
The word titan was in common use in English by the 1500s, becoming an adjective by 1709, then applied to the element titanium in 1796 and finally the moon of Saturn.   
Image of Titan from the Cassini program, courtesy NASA

Pan, shepherd moon of the Encke Gap in Saturn’s A Ring, photographed by Cassini from almost perfectly in Saturn’s equatorial plane.

In the Shadows of Saturn’s Rings
Titan and Saturn, seen when the Cassini spacecraft passed by Titan at a distance of 700,000 km on 6 May 2012.

A storm 400 times the size of earth…
January 12, 2011. A false-color mosaic showing the tail of Saturn’s huge  northern storm. Red and orange colors in this view indicate clouds that  were deep in the atmosphere.
LightBox 365: A Year in Photographs