Cassini spacecraft shoots some really cool, eerie photos in its second dive between Saturn’s rings

Cassini spacecraft shoots some really cool, eerie photos in its second dive between Saturn's rings

CapeCanaveral,May8:With its cameras pointed away from the surface of Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft shot some really cool, eerie photos in its second dive between the rings and Jovian planet with the sun behind the planet.

The agency explained that during the second dive in the spacecraft’s final 22 orbits before it crashes into the planet:

“Cassini’s imaging cameras, the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS), takes advantage of the last opportunity to observe Saturn’s rings at extremely high phase angles while the Sun is hidden behind Saturn, allowing the instrument to survey faint ringlets in the main rings, many of which are difficult to observe outside of this geometry. The ISS also collects images to produce a movie to monitor various structures in Saturn’s D ring.”

During this orbit, Cassini gets within 1,820 miles of Saturn’s outer atmosphere and within 2,980 miles of the inner edge of Saturn’s D ring.

“No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before. We could only rely on predictions, based on our experience with Saturn’s other rings, of what we thought this gap between the rings and Saturn would be like,” said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “I am delighted to report that Cassini shot through the gap just as we planned and has come out the other side in excellent shape.”

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