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Crash course?

20 December 2016 Astronomy Now

It may look as though Saturn’s moon Mimas is crashing through the rings in this image taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, but Mimas is actually 45,000 kilometres (28,000 miles) away from the rings.

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The details are in the rings

12 November 2016 Astronomy Now

This view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft showcases some of the amazingly detailed structure of Saturn’s rings. This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about four degrees above the ring plane.

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The view from above

1 November 2016 Astronomy Now

Saturn appears as a serene globe amid tranquil rings in this view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft above the planet’s pole.

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Two tiny moons lost among the rings of Saturn

8 October 2016 Astronomy Now

Two tiny moons of Saturn, almost lost amid the planet’s enormous rings, are seen orbiting in this Cassini probe image. Pan, visible within the Encke Gap near lower-right, is in the process of overtaking the slower Atlas, visible at upper-left.


35 Years On, Voyager’s Legacy Continues at Saturn

25 August 2016 Astronomy Now

Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Saturn 35 years ago — on 25 August 1981. What the Voyagers revealed at the planet was so phenomenal that, just one year later, a joint American and European working group began discussing a mission that would carry on Voyager’s legacy at Saturn.

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Warp in the rings of Saturn

25 July 2016 Astronomy Now

In this image from NASA’s Cassini probe, Saturn’s A and F rings appear bizarrely warped where they intersect the planet’s limb, whose atmosphere acts here like a very big lens.

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Tethys Tops Saturn

12 July 2016 Astronomy Now

An illusion of perspective, Saturn’s moon Tethys seems to hang above the planet’s north pole in this view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

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Pandemonium in Saturn’s rings

8 July 2016 Astronomy Now

Pan and moons like it have profound effects on Saturn’s rings. The effects can range from clearing gaps, to creating new ringlets, to raising vertical waves that rise above and below the ring plane. All of these effects, produced by gravity, are seen in this image from the Cassini probe.