Cassini’s ‘Grand Finale’ Saturn portrait

(Planetary) – In the early hours of April 13, 2017, Cassini captured this breathtaking and unique visage of the Saturnian system as it coasted through space in the shadow of the gas giant.

All components of the main ring system are visible, seen here illuminated from behind: a vantage point technically known as a ‘high-phase angle’. In this geometry, a peculiar reversal happens: the thinner and more translucent rings shine out brightly, while the more opaque and thicker regions are relatively dark.

Only two moons — Janus and Mimas — can be picked out in this uncalibrated and compressed data, in addition to a red-giant star in the constellation of Gemini: Tejat (μ Gem). …

planetary finale-portrait

Cassini's 'Grand Finale' Saturn portrait (April 13, 2017)

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