Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2017 June 18
Explanation: What has the Cassini orbiter seen at Saturn? The featured music video shows some of the early highlights. In the first time-lapse sequence (00:07), a vertical line appears that is really Saturn's thin rings seen nearly edge-on. Soon some of Saturn's moon shoot past. The next sequence (00:11) features Saturn's unusually wavy F-ring that is constrained by the two shepherd moons that are also continually perturbing it. Soon much of Saturn's extensive ring system flashes by, sometimes juxtaposed to the grandeur of the immense planet itself. Cloud patterns on Titan (00:39) and Saturn (00:41) are highlighted. Clips from flybys of several of Saturn's moon are then shown, including Phoebe, Mimas, Epimetheus, and Iapetus. In other sequences, moons of Saturn appear to pass each other as they orbit Saturn. Background star fields seen by Cassini are sometimes intruded upon by bright passing moons. The robotic Cassini spacecraft has been revolutionizing humanity's knowledge of Saturn and its moons since 2004. In September, Cassini's mission will be brought to a dramatic conclusion as the spacecraft will be directed to dive into ringed giant.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.