With giant Saturn hanging in the blackness and sheltering Cassini from the sun's blinding glare, the spacecraft viewed the rings as never before, revealing previously unknown faint rings and even glimpsing its home world.
During its closest ever dive past the active south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus, NASA's Cassini spacecraft quickly shuttered its imaging cameras to capture glimpses of the fast moving terrain below.
This view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft looks toward Saturn's icy moon Dione, with giant Saturn and its rings in the background, just prior to the mission's final close approach to the moon on August 17, 2015.
Although solid-looking in many images, Saturn's rings are actually translucent. In this picture, we can glimpse the shadow of the rings on the planet through (and below) the A and C rings themselves, towards the lower right hand corner.
Saturn is circled by its rings (seen nearly edge-on in this image), as well as by the moons Tethys (the large bright body near the lower right hand corner of this image) and Mimas (seen as a slight crescent against Saturn’s disk above the rings, at about 4 o’clock).
These three images, created from Cassini Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data, show the appearance and evolution of a mysterious feature in Ligeia Mare, one of the largest hydrocarbon seas on Saturn's moon Titan.
Mysterious Changing Feature in Ligeia Mare -- Unannotated
This Cassini narrow-angle camera image -- one of those acquired in the survey conducted by the Cassini imaging science team of the geyser basin at the south pole of Enceladus -- was taken as Cassini was looking across the moon's south pole.
This view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft features a blue planet, but unlike the view from July 19, 2013 (The Day the Earth Smiled) that featured our home planet, this blue orb is Uranus, imaged by Cassini for the first time.
Winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere of Saturn and with this cold season has come the familiar blue hue that was present in the northern winter hemisphere at the start of NASA's Cassini mission.