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Cassini beams back more breathtaking images of Saturn’s rings

by Brandon Russell | May 6, 2017May 6, 2017 2:00 pm PDT

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft sent back another round of images of Saturn, and they’re even better than the first.

As Cassini pulled off another daredevil act on May 2, the spacecraft snagged several up-close shots of Saturn’s rings. You can check them out for yourself in the gallery below, which looks like some kind of post-modern art exhibit.

In addition to a lovely gallery, NASA also put together a series of images into a video, showing off what it would have looked like from the spacecraft’s perspective.

“The movie comprises one hour of observations as the spacecraft moved southward over Saturn,” NASA said. “It begins with a view of the swirling vortex at the planet’s north pole, then heads past the outer boundary of the hexagon-shaped jet stream and beyond.”

The video shows Cassini’s altitude from above the clouds drop from 45,000 to 4,200 miles. So, in other words, the spacecraft got pretty cozy with the planet ahead of its planned dive into Saturn’s atmosphere.

Cassini is planning yet another dive between Saturn and its rings on May 9, with a dozen or so more before the spacecraft says goodbye once and for all.

“The images from the first pass were great, but we were conservative with the camera settings,” said Andrew Ingersoll, a member of Cassini’s imaging team. “We plan to make updates to our observations for a similar opportunity on June 28 that we think will result in even better views.”


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...