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Did you 'wave at Saturn'? NASA's got your picture

NASA assembled more than 1,400 images, submitted from 40 countries, to create this mosaic of Earth.
NASA assembled more than 1,400 images, submitted from 40 countries, to create this mosaic of Earth.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NASA releases photo mosaic of people waving at Saturn
  • People sent 1,400 pictures of themselves waving from 30 states, 40 countries
  • Meanwhile, Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was taking a more distant picture of Earth
  • "Wave at Saturn" campaign was an opportunity to highlight images being taken of the planet

(CNN) -- Remember when we all waved at Saturn last month while the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft took our picture? Well, NASA has finally gotten the film back from the drugstore -- and you can see our whole world.

A good chunk of it, anyway.

People shared more than 1,400 images of themselves as part of the July 19 "Wave at Saturn" event, which was organized by NASA's Cassini mission. On Tuesday, the space agency released a collage of those images, which -- from a distance -- looks like the portion of the Earth's Western Hemisphere that Cassini viewed at the time.

Zoom in, however, and you can see everyday folks expressing their oneness with the ringed sixth planet from the sun. (The full-resolution version is here.)

"Hello Cassini," says a chalked message in one photo.

"Thanks for helping Earth wave at me today. Love, Saturn," read a handheld sign in another.

NASA was thankful, too.

"Thanks to all of you, near and far, old and young, who joined the Cassini mission in marking the first time inhabitants of Earth had advance notice that our picture was being taken from interplanetary distances," said Cassini project scientist Linda Spilker in a statement released by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"While Earth is too small in the images Cassini obtained to distinguish any individual human beings, the mission has put together this collage so that we can celebrate all your waving hands, uplifted paws, smiling faces and artwork."

NASA's Cassini-Huygens spacecraft -- in service since 1997 and in orbit around the ringed giant since 2004 -- took pictures of Saturn and its rings during a solar eclipse on July 19. It acquired a panoramic mosaic of the Saturn system that allows scientists to see details in the rings and throughout the system as they are backlit by the sun. This mosaic marks the third time Earth has been imaged from the outer solar system. It is the second time it has been imaged by Cassini from Saturn's orbit. This annotated image shows Earth as a tiny dot. NASA's Cassini-Huygens spacecraft -- in service since 1997 and in orbit around the ringed giant since 2004 -- took pictures of Saturn and its rings during a solar eclipse on July 19. It acquired a panoramic mosaic of the Saturn system that allows scientists to see details in the rings and throughout the system as they are backlit by the sun. This mosaic marks the third time Earth has been imaged from the outer solar system. It is the second time it has been imaged by Cassini from Saturn's orbit. This annotated image shows Earth as a tiny dot.
Saturn in a different light
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Images of Saturn from Cassini Images of Saturn from Cassini

The images came from 30 states and 40 countries. People used a variety of technologies to transmit them, including Instagram, Google+ and e-mail.

Cassini took a picture of Earth as part of a larger set of images it was collecting of the Saturn system. Scientists are busy putting together the color mosaic of the Saturn system, which they expect will take at least several more weeks to complete. The scientists who study Saturn's rings are poring over visible-light and infrared data obtained during that campaign.

The project originated because the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which was launched in 1997 and has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004, was going to be taking pictures of the planet and its rings during a solar eclipse. Thanks to various cosmological arrangements, the Earth was minutely visible in the endless universe beyond.

The picture of Earth, though it doesn't reveal much scientifically, was a rare opportunity, NASA noted in July.

"Since the Space Age began, there have been only two images of Earth from the outer solar system," the agency said.

And now, there are more -- and one that features so many of us.

Hope you didn't blink.

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