Saturn and its rings

Photojournal: PIA21345

September 11, 2017

With this view, Cassini captured one of its last looks at Saturn and its main rings from a distance. The Saturn system has been Cassini's home for 13 years, but that journey is nearing its end.

Cassini has been orbiting Saturn for nearly a half of a Saturnian year but that journey is nearing its end. This extended stay has permitted observations of the long-term variability of the planet, moons, rings, and magnetosphere, observations not possible from short, fly-by style missions.

When the spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004, the planet's northern hemisphere, seen here at top, was in darkness, just beginning to emerge from winter (see Cassini's Holiday Greetings​). Now at journey's end, the entire north pole is bathed in the continuous sunlight of summer.

Images taken on Oct. 28, 2016 with the wide angle camera using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this color view. This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 25 degrees above the ringplane.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 870,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 50 miles (80 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and https://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

ENLARGE