These Ultra Close-Up Images of Saturn's Rings Are Mind-Blowing
- Author: Essie Rivera Feb 02, 2017,
Feb 02, 2017, 0:05
This image features a "density wave" in Saturn's A ring (left) that lies around 134,500km from Saturn.
Although the spacecraft captured these features earlier too, but its current location provides it with the opportunity to see them in even greater detail. Cassini has taken many images of the rings before, but they've never been anywhere close to this level of detail.
The images were taken by the Cassini spacecraft, which is making orbital dives around the outer edge of Saturn's main ring system, Science Alert reported. The first planetary "plunge" was slated for April 22, according to the NASA website.
This image shows a region in Saturn's outer B ring.
This image from NASA's Cassini mission shows a region in Saturn's A ring.
While the rings, as a whole, look like perfectly smooth disks from a distance, when viewed from close range, the smaller-scale bits of ice, dust and rock that form the rings can be spotted.
Cassini was launched in 1997 and reached Saturn in 2004.
Then it will crash into Saturn, providing one final tranche of scientific readings, hopefully building a portfolio of information to allow NASA researchers to fully understand the planet's atmosphere. This resulted in images that were scientifically stunning, but somewhat dark and noisy. From here, the spacecraft will enter the "Grand Finale" phase of its mission, diving in between the planet and its rings.
Closeups show ring particles and moonlets not seen since Cassini's 2004 arrival at Saturn.
Just last week NASA offered us an incredibly high-resolution view of Earth using their new weather satellites. From this view, it is clear that there are still finer details to uncover. These are the closest views we have ever had of the rings and scientists are very excited to see all the details they hold. During the Grand Finale, Cassini will make the closest-ever observation of Saturn, and scientists hope to gain new insights into Saturn's interior structure. Tiscareno planned the new images for the camera team.
Cassini has made numerous dramatic discoveries, including one moon with indications of a heated ocean.and another moon, Titan, with a liquid methane sea.