On July 19, for about 15 minutes between 21:27 to 21:42 UTC, more than 20,000 people around the globe smiled and waved towards the sky. During that time, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, that has been studying the Saturn System, turned around and took pictures of our planet. NASA’s scientists had invited earthlings to participate in smiling, waving, and toasting for the pictures. The event is being referred to as “The Day The Earth Smiled”. Cassini, at that time, was nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) away from us – about 10 times further than the Sun. Scientists specified the time slot for all of us to wave based on when Cassini was going to start taking photos and the fact that it takes light about 80 minutes from Earth to reach the spacecraft. Cassini was launched in 1997.
Did you know?
It takes approximately 8 minutes 20 seconds for the light from the sun to reach earth. Here is a video explaining it.
Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute for Earth’s image