Image Gallery: Sweeping view across Saturn’s rings

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Kevin M. Gill

This is actually from 2009, but was just posted again on Facebook and is a stunning view across Saturn’s rings as seen by the Cassini spacecraft. The level of detail is incredible as the rings are illuminated edge-on during that year’s equinox. Cassini is getting very close-up views of the rings again now as it completes its final few orbits before the mission ends on September 15. Image processing by Kevin M. Gill. Larger versions here.

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Cassini prepares for one last look at Titan before spectacular end of mission

Two views of Titan from Cassini, using the narrow-angle camera on March 21, 2017, revealing bright methane clouds in the thick, opaque nitrogen atmosphere, and dark dunes, lakes and seas on the surface. Natural color on left, false color on right. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

There are now less than five orbits left in the Grand Finale until Cassini’s awe-inspiring mission at Saturn comes to an end. With each remaining orbit, Cassini comes closer to plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere, never to be heard from again. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, assists the spacecraft during this phase of the mission, nudging on it with its gravity to keep Cassini in the right orbits for when it dives between the innermost rings and the planet itself. And now those final moments are almost here.

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Only 5 ring crossings left as Cassini nears end of historic mission at Saturn

Saturn’s moon Prometheus lurks near the outer F ring in this new view from Cassini. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft just completed its 17th ring crossing at Saturn, part of the Grand Finale phase of the mission, leaving only 5 more to go before the mission ends on Sept. 15. As before, the ring crossing was a success, with Cassini sending back precious more data about the Saturn system even though time is now running short. The ring crossings, bringing the spacecraft closer to Saturn than ever before, provide a unique way for scientists to learn even more about Saturn and its moons in a manner never before possible.

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Cassini’s latest dive through Saturn’s rings reveals spectacular detail

Recent spectacular image from Cassini where Saturn’s shadow can be seen projected onto the finely detailed rings. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has now successfully completed its 12th ring crossing at Saturn, and is now well past the halfway point of the Grand Finale phase of its mission. Each ring crossing, with now only 10 left, brings Cassini closer to its inevitable end in September, when the spacecraft will plunge into Saturn’s turbulent atmosphere to meet its fiery fate.

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Grand Finale part 5: Cassini completes tenth epic ring crossing at Saturn

Illustration of Cassini diving through the gap between Saturn and its rings. Ten out of the 22 ring crossings have now been completed. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has just successfully completed its tenth ring crossing at Saturn, on June 23, which brings it almost halfway through the Grand Finale – the last phase of the mission, which will end on Sept. 15, 2017. This leaves twelve more ring crosses to go before the end of the mission. There may not be a lot of time left for Cassini, but these last close flybys of Saturn are providing views and data never before possible – a crowning achievement for a mission which has already completely changed our understanding of the giant ringed planet and its moons.

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