On 13 Marsh, 2006, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took this edge-on view of Saturn’s rings, capturing the moon Mimas above the ring plane, illuminated both by the sun and by “saturnshine,” the tiny moon Janus just above the rings and larger Tethys below. Cassini took the photo from a distance of about 2.7 million kilometres (1.7 million miles), combining red, green and blue spectral filters to produce a natural colour view. Cassini’s mission ended 15 September, 2017, when the spacecraft, virtually out of propellant after its long, successful mission, was directed to plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere.
In the bright evening twilight of 14, 15 and 16 July, observers in the British Isles and Western Europe can see the waxing gibbous Moon pass by Mars, first-magnitude star Antares in Scorpius, then Saturn. This series of conjunctions occurs very low in the southern sky for UK-based astronomers, while Australasian observers are ideally placed to view the spectacle almost overhead.