Cassini Returns Never-Before-Seen Views of the Ringed Planet

March 1, 2007
Cassini Returns Never-Before-Seen Views of the Ringed Planet
Taking in Saturn's rings in their entirety was the focus of this particular imaging sequence. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured never-before-seen views of Saturn from perspectives high above and below the planet's rings. Over the last several months, the spacecraft has climbed to higher and higher inclinations, providing its cameras with glimpses of the planet and rings that have scientists gushing.

"Finally, here are the views that we've waited years for," said Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. "Sailing high above Saturn and seeing the rings spread out beneath us like a giant, copper medallion is like exploring an alien world we've never seen before. It just doesn't look like the same place. It's so utterly breath-taking, it almost gives you vertigo."

The images taken over last two months are being released today and include black and white and color mosaics, as well as a dramatic movie sequence showing the rings as they appeared to Cassini while it sped from south to north, rapidly crossing the ring plane. Also released is a playful view of the rings from high above, with the planet removed.

Cassini's highly inclined orbits around Saturn will be progressively lowered so that, by late June-- three years after entering orbit -- the spacecraft will once more be orbiting in the ring plane.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Uranus may have two undiscovered moons

Related Stories

Uranus may have two undiscovered moons

October 24, 2016

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Uranus 30 years ago, but researchers are still making discoveries from the data it gathered then. A new study led by University of Idaho researchers suggests there could be two tiny, previously ...

Image: In daylight on Saturn's night side

October 12, 2016

NASA's Cassini spacecraft looks down at the rings of Saturn from above the planet's nightside. The darkened globe of Saturn is seen here at lower right, along with the shadow it casts across the rings.

Cassini begins epic final year at Saturn

September 16, 2016

After more than 12 years studying Saturn, its rings and moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has entered the final year of its epic voyage. The conclusion of the historic scientific odyssey is planned for September 2017, but ...

Most distant catch for ESA station

August 19, 2016

An ESA tracking station has acquired signals from the international Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn, across more than 1.4 billion km of space.

Recommended for you

NASA missions harvest a passel of 'pumpkin' stars

October 27, 2016

Astronomers using observations from NASA's Kepler and Swift missions have discovered a batch of rapidly spinning stars that produce X-rays at more than 100 times the peak levels ever seen from the sun. The stars, which spin ...

A dead star's ghostly glow

October 27, 2016

The eerie glow of a dead star, which exploded long ago as a supernova, reveals itself in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Crab Nebula. But don't be fooled. The ghoulish-looking object still has a pulse. Buried ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.