NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has sent back boatloads of stunning images since it left our atmosphere almost 16 years ago. And on Friday, July 19, the fast-moving probe will point its camera at Earth — and all of us — and snap a picture from nearly 900 million miles away as its orbiting Saturn.
Better look sharp.
This is the first time Earthlings have been given advance notice that a spacecraft is going to be snapping pictures of our unique blue marble.
For those interested in having their portrait taken, NASA has launched the “Wave at Saturn” event. The photo will taken between 5:27 and 5:42 p.m EDT.
To find Saturn in the night sky, use this locator. Once you’ve figured out Saturn’s whereabouts, NASA is telling people to go outside, look in the direction of Saturn, and wave. Earthlings can upload pictures of themselves waving to the distant planet on the event’s Flickr page.
You can even download a certificate to verify that you have waved at Saturn.
The Cassini spacecraft is not just photographing Earth. We are just one small part of a much larger image that will show the full Saturn system as it is backlit by the sun, says NASA. It will take several weeks to stitch together that bigger picture, but the Earth photo will be ready within just a few days after it is taken.
This opportunity to image Earth from the outer solar system doesn’t come often. There have only been two of these photos during the history of our planet, according to NASA. Earth appeared as a pale blue dot in the first portrait of our solar system taken by Voyager in 1996. The last one was taken in 2006 by the Cassini spacecraft.
In other words, there will no be chances for a retake.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.