Tuesday, January 31, 2017
SPACE CADETS / SIGHTS WE NEVER THOUGHT WE’D SEE
GUEST BLOG—By Space.com--NASA's Cassini spacecraft is known for some of the most extraordinary images of Saturn, and its rings and moons, that we have seen. And this view over Saturn's "shoulder" is no exception.
A telescope on Earth could never capture a view of Saturn like this, NASA officials wrote in an image description. The photo looks from dark side of Saturn (lower left) toward the sunlit side of the planet and its rings from roughly 25 degrees above the ring plane. Saturn's weird hexagon-shaped storm is clearly visible churning at the planet's north pole.
While Cassini captured this view of Saturn with a wide-angle camera on Oct. 28, 2016, NASA only released the photo Jan. 16. Cassini was about 810,000 miles (1.3 million kilometers) away from Saturn when it captured the view.[Photos: Saturn's Glorious Rings Up Close]
Launched in 1997, the Cassini spacecraft is nearing the end of its nearly 20-year mission. In September, the spacecraft will be intentionally crashed into Saturn as a safety measure to protect the planet's icy moons from contamination by the probe.
The Cassini mission to Saturn has been a cooperative project by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The probe arrived at Saturn in 2004 and is named after the famed Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini. In addition to studying the Saturn system, Cassini also carried ESA's Huygens probe, which landed on Titan — Saturn's largest moon — in January 2005.