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NASA's Cassini spacecraft spies Uranus

Uranus appears as a tiny blue dot because it's currently on the other side of the sun, 2,659,800,000 miles away from Cassini and Saturn.
By Brooks Hays   |   May 2, 2014 at 6:08 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- For the first time, NASA's Cassini Mission, the unmanned spacecraft sent to orbit Saturn, has captured imagery of Uranus, the solar system's seventh planet from the sun.

In a photo released by NASA, the icy blue dot that is Uranus can be seen just beyond Saturn's A and F rings, which are streaking across the foreground.

Uranus is one the solar system's two "ice giants" -- the other being Neptune. They're called so for their chemical makeup, being largely composed of water, ammonia and methane, which freeze in the cold temperatures of deep space. Jupiter and Saturn, on the other hand, are called "gas giants" -- big balls of hydrogen and helium.

Saturn, being the sixth farthest planet from the sun, is Uranus's cosmic neighbor, but at the moment, they're very, very far apart. Uranus appears as a tiny blue dot because it's currently on the other side of the sun, 2,659,800,000 miles away from Cassini and Saturn.

The Cassini Mission is a collaborative effort among NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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