NASA has released a set of stunning images of Saturn with all its splendor and glory. It is the Cassini spacecraft’s legacy after 13 years of diligently exploring the ring planet.
NASA has shared these epic images of Saturn as a dedication to the spacecraft. The compilation of images is titled “Farewell to Saturn” and is composed of 42 natural-color images that display the breathtaking view of the planet and its rings. Other images also show the six moons of the planet, Mimas (the “Death Star” moon), Pandora, Janus, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Enceladus.
Robert West, Cassini’s deputy imaging team leader at NASA, said that Cassini’s scientific bounty has been truly spectacular. He further said that it is a vast array of new results leading to new insights and surprises, from the tiniest of ring particles, to the opening of new landscapes on Titan and Enceladus, to the deep interior of Saturn itself, as noted by Engadget.
Cassini took the images of Saturn two days before it plunged into the thick atmosphere of the planet. The spacecraft had made its final journey of the planet and captured the last set of images on Sept.13. The last images show the details of the most beautiful planet and its rings in all their glory.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft bid farewell to the Saturnian system by capturing this last, full mosaic of Saturn and its rings on Sept. 13, 2017, two days before the spacecraft's dramatic plunge into the planet's atmosphere.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute pic.twitter.com/DED3t3XePY
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NASA stated that the view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 15 degrees above the ring plane. It further stated that the spacecraft was about 698,000 miles or 1.1 million kilometers from Saturn, on its final approach to the planet, when the images in this mosaic were taken. It added that the image scale on Saturn is about 42 miles or 67 kilometers per pixel, as noted by News Recorder.
Carolyn Porco, Cassini’s imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and former Voyager imaging and team member, said that “Farewell to Saturn” will forevermore serve as a reminder of the dramatic conclusion to that wondrous time humans spent in intimate study of the Sun’s most iconic planetary system. Likewise, Elizabeth Turtle, an imaging team associate at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, said that it was difficult to bid goodbye, but emphasized how lucky they were to be able to see it all through Cassini’s eyes.
[Featured Image by NASA/Handout/Getty Images]