Black and white image of Saturn's rings.

A raw image of Saturn's rings taken by Cassini on May 4, 2017.

Orbit 272 - April 29 - May 6

Event Date Spacecraft Time (UTC) Local Time (PDT) Notes
Apoapse Apr 29 2:22 p.m. 7:22 a.m.  
Ring Crossing #2 May 2 7:38 a.m. 12:38 p.m.  
Downlink May 3 2:13 p.m. 7:13 a.m. Estimated Earth Received Time (ERT) is 8:30 a.m. on May 3.

During this orbit, Cassini rolls to calibrate its magnetometer (MAG) for the high-intensity magnetic field observations to be performed when the spacecraft is nearest Saturn. This is the first time MAG has made this sort of observation.

  • Cassini’s imaging cameras, the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS), takes advantage of the last opportunity to observe Saturn's rings at extremely high phase angles while the Sun is hidden behind Saturn, allowing the instrument to survey faint ringlets in the main rings, many of which are difficult to observe outside of this geometry. The ISS also collects images to produce a movie to monitor various structures in Saturn’s D ring.
  • The spacecraft’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) observes Saturn’s moon Rhea in infrared to narrow down the composition and structure of the moon’s surface material.
  • During this orbit, Cassini gets within 1,820 miles (2,930 kilometers) of Saturn’s 1-bar level. Cassini also passes within 2,980 miles (4,780 kilometers) of the inner edge of Saturn’s D ring.
Apoapse No. 2
Orbit 2 of 22: Ring Crossing