NASA Cassini movie shows Saturn’s rings from inside the gap – CNET


Cassini sees of all of Saturn’s rings from within the gap.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is a celestial daredevil. It’s been plunging between Saturn and its rings since the start of its Grand Finale stage earlier this year. NASA released a movie on Friday showing Cassini’s view of the rings during one of these exciting gap dives. 

The GIF consists of 21 images taken on August 20. This viewpoint is what Cassini saw as it looked away from the planet and toward the rings. 

“The entirety of the main rings can be seen here, but due to the low viewing angle, the rings appear extremely foreshortened,” NASA notes. This gives the movie an abstract feel, like we’re looking at a work of experimental art rather than a science sequence. 

We are used to seeing spectacular Cassini images of the rings, but this particular vantage point is fascinating thanks to the spacecraft’s unusual location. Cassini is counting down the few days it has left before it destroys itself in the planet’s atmosphere in September.

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