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Cassini: a farewell to Saturn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft bid farewell to the Saturnian system by firing the shutters of its wide-angle camera and capturing this last, full mosaic of Saturn and its rings two days before the spacecraft's dramatic plunge into the planet's atmosphere

In a fitting farewell to the planet that had been its home for over 13 years, the Cassini spacecraft took one last, lingering look at Saturn and its splendid rings during the final leg of its journey and snapped a series of images that has been assembled into a new mosaic. Cassini’s wide-angle camera acquired 42 red, green and blue images, covering the planet and its main rings from one end to the other, on Sept. 13, 2017. Imaging scientists stitched these frames together to make a natural color view. 

The scene also includes the moons Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, Epimetheus, Mimas and Enceladus."Cassini’s scientific bounty has been truly spectacular -- 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 - said Robert West, Cassini's deputy imaging team leader at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. 

The imagine below  is from Cassini's final observation of Saturn's icy moon Rhea  on May 2, 2017. The spacecraft was at the time high above the plane of Saturn's rings, looking down at Rhea's northern hemisphere. The northern rim of the giant Tirawa impact basin can be seen along the limb at left  at a istance of approximately 370.000 kilometers from Rhea. 

 

 

Icy moon Rhea. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute