The Saturn System
The great orb of Saturn appears to float in the middle of the enormous ring system in this image from Cassini taken May 21, 2016.. The planet casts a short shadow on the rings, which indicates the changing seasons. When this image was taken, the planet was nearing its northern-hemisphere solstice, which took place in May 2017, when the planet's shadow grew even shorter and barely touched the B ring, one of the system's inner rings.
A Trick of Perspective
Saturn's moon Tethys seems to hang directly above the planet's north pole in this image, but it's just a trick of perspective. Tethys is actually on the farside of Saturn in this image, and the moon orbits almost exactly in the planet's equatorial plane. In the image, taken Jan. 26, 2015, Tethys was brightened by a factor of three relative to Saturn to enhance the moon's visibility.
This sidelong view of Saturn, taken Jan. 18, 2017, captures a hint of the planet's sunlight side. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 630,000 miles (1.01 million km) from Saturn; Cassini spent most of its 13 years in the Saturn system more than 1 million miles (1.6 million km) from the planet.
A View from Above
On May 21, 2016, the Cassini probe captured this image while looking down on the planet. Saturn's shadow stretches more than halfway across the rings, and the hexagonal storm around the planet's north pole is visible. The probe took this image when it was approximately 2 million miles (3.2 million km) from Saturn.
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