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You’ve never seen more beautiful pictures of Saturn’s rings

by Brandon Russell | September 9, 2017September 9, 2017 10:30 am PDT

On September 15, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will dive headlong into Saturn’s atmosphere, never to be heard of again. Before then, Cassini continues to study the ringed planet, capturing gorgeous images like the ones seen below.

In the black and white image, which was snapped on June 4, Cassini captured a wave structure in Saturn’s rings known as the Janus 2:1 spiral density wave, according to NASA. Cassini was nearly 50,000 miles away from Saturn when the picture was acquired.

“Resulting from the same process that creates spiral galaxies, spiral density waves in Saturn’s rings are much more tightly wound,” NASA wrote. “In this case, every second wave crest is actually the same spiral arm which has encircled the entire planet multiple times.”

Cassini captured another breathtaking picture on July 6, which NASA says is the highest-resolution color image of any part of Saturn’s rings. The image is notable because it reveals the pale tan color of the rings, which is normally difficult to spot when viewed through a telescope.

NASA also provided an enhanced color version of the same shot, which reveals a more psychedelic side of Saturn’s rings. The enhanced color has given scientists a more well-defined look at some of the ringlets, which NASA says can be as narrow as 25 miles wide toward the middle.

And as a final comparison, you can see the two color photos together.

Cassini’s joy ride across the universe is set to come to an end on September 15, which just so happens to be when Samsung release the Galaxy Note 8. Coincidence?

NASA NASA (2)

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...

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