Smile! Earth's pic to be taken from space on Friday, Saturday

NASA says wave toward Saturn and post your own photos on Facebook, Twitter

Do your hair and put on your Sunday best on Friday because Earth will be having its picture taken.

Two NASA spacecraft, one studying Saturn's system, the other observing Mercury, are maneuvering into place today to take long-distance pictures of Earth on Friday and Saturday.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which is nearly 900 million miles away from Earth in Saturn system, will snap Earth's image between 5:27 p.m. and 5:42 p.m. ET on Friday.

The space agency is hoping people will get in on the event, looking toward Saturn and waving at the time the image is being taken and then sharing their own pictures on social networks.

People can share their pictures by using the hashtag #waveatsaturn on Twitter, by uploading them to the event's Flickr page or by posting them to the event's Facebook page.

Cassini mission scientists also will be participating in a live Ustream show on Friday from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET.

Not sure how to find Saturn in the sky? Go to NASA's Cassini webpage for information.

The Earth's portrait is part of Cassini's work on a mosaic, or multi-image portrait, of the Saturn system, noted NASA. The images are taken to highlight the planet's ring particles and are expected to help scientists discover patterns in Saturn's dusty rings.

Cassini took a similar shot of Earth on June 19. All the images will be added to the mosaic.

Scientists expect Earth to appear as a small blue dot between the rings of Saturn in the image.

Earth's picture won't be processed for a few days and it could take several weeks to ready Saturn's mosaic, the space agency said.

Meanwhile, NASA's Messenger spacecraft, which is in orbit around Mercury, is expected to capture Earth in images it's taking on Friday and Saturday in its search for natural satellites around Mercury.

Messenger will take its images at 7:49 a.m., 8:38 a.m. and 9:41 a.m. ET on both days.

NASA said it will take a few days to process Messenger's images before they can be released.

This article, Smile! Earth's pic to be taken from space on Friday, Saturday, was originally published at

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is

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