Spectacular New Images Showcase Saturn's Rings

Spectacular New Images Showcase Saturn's Rings
Saturn viewed by Cassini in images taken in July, 2008. Six moons complete this constructed panorama. Saturn's largest moon, Titan (5,150 kilometers, or 3,200 miles, across), Janus (179 kilometers, or 111 miles, across), Mimas (396 kilometers, or 246 miles, across), Pandora (81 kilometers, or 50 miles, across), Epimetheus (113 kilometers, or 70 miles, across) and Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles, across). (Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

New pictures of Saturn released Tuesday reveal the ringed planet in all its splendor.

The Cassini space probe snapped a series of images during two hours in July that have been put together to create a full, natural color view of the planet, its rings, and six of its moons.

As Saturn orbits the sun, the sun's rays are now gradually falling more to the north on the planet, and the motion of Saturn's ring shadows and the changing colors of its atmosphere continue to transform the face of Saturn as seen by Cassini, which is in orbit around the gaseous world.

Images of six of Saturn's many moons were added to the new picture.

Another remarkable view released Tuesday shows Saturn's rings and gaps in detail.

Taken from 10 degrees below the illuminated side of the rings, shows, from left to right, radially outward from Saturn, the C ring (with its Colombo and Maxwell gaps); the B ring and the Cassini division beyond, with the intervening Huygens gap; the A ring (with its Encke and Keeler gaps); and, on the far right, the narrow F ring. The total span covers approximately 65,700 kilometers (40,800 miles).

The photograph is a combination of 45 images taken over the course of about 4 hours on Nov. 26.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

  • Gallery: More Saturn Images

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