Moons page — updated on February 16th, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cassini Flies Between Saturn and its Rings

Saturn's Atlas moon in the distance and Saturnian rings in the foreground   

On April 26th, the Cassini spacecraft (NASA) of the bicontinental Cassini-Huygens program successfully entered the space between Saturn and its mesmerizing rings. Today's "dive" into this area is the first of a series of 22 "Grand Finale" orbits to collect photographs and data pertaining to Saturn, its rings, and its minuscule inner moons. Speaking of moons, the top-left photo above shows the Atlas moon in the distance and a sheet of rings in the foreground. Cassini's ultimate goal is to plunge into Saturn's gaseous realm on September 15th of this year. As of today at 1:00 P.M. Eastern Time, Cassini is about 267,000 miles away from Saturn's gaseous atmosphere. This is the Cassini Grand Finale's official website (↗), which includes a photo gallery of raw (unprocessed) imagery. By the way, Google celebrated the monumental occasion with a Google Doodle:

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Blog Background

The background has three Hubble Space Telescope images, which are accessible at this Hubble webpage: Hubblesite.org/categories/images.

— LH 95 is a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, Dorado constellation.

— Ant Nebula (also called Menzel 3) is an aptly-named planetary nebula located in the constellation Norma.
— Egg Nebula (also called CL 2688) is a protoplanetary nebula in the constellation Cygnus.

HubbleSite Image Links: LH 95, Ant Nebula, and Egg Nebula