Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2011 June 13

Views from Cassini at Saturn
Credit: Images: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA; Video Compilation: Chris Abbas;
Music Credit & License: Ghosts I-IV (Nine Inch Nails)

Explanation: What has the Cassini orbiter seen since arriving at Saturn? The above music video shows some of the highlights. In the first time-lapse sequence (00:07), a vertical line appears that is really Saturn's thin rings seen nearly edge-on. Soon some of Saturn's moon shoot past. The next sequence (00:11) features Saturn's unusually wavy F-ring that is constrained by the two shepherd moons that are also continually perturbing it. Soon much of Saturn's extensive ring system flashes by, sometimes juxtaposed to the grandeur of the immense planet itself. Cloud patterns on Titan (00:39) and Saturn (00:41) are highlighted. Clips from flyby's of several of Saturn's moon are then shown, including Phoebe, Mimas, Epimetheus, and Iapetus. In other sequences, moons of Saturn appear to pass each other as they orbit Saturn. Background star fields seen by Cassini are sometimes intruded upon by bright passing moons. The robotic Cassini spacecraft has been revolutionizing humanity's knowledge of Saturn and its moons since 2004.

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