Science and Exploration

Supreme Saturn

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 22, 2014
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Supreme Saturn
Supreme Saturn
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Saturn reigns supreme, encircled by its retinue of rings.
Although all four giant planets have ring systems, Saturn’s is by far the most massive and impressive. Scientists are trying to understand why by studying how the rings have formed and how they have evolved over time.

Also seen in this image is Saturn’s famous north polar vortex and hexagon.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 37 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on 4 May 2014 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 3 million kilometres from Saturn. Image scale is 180 kilometres per pixel.

Download hi-res version.

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.