Cassini Flies High To View Saturn’s Rings Again


It’s been nearly two years since NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has had views like those it is now enjoying of Saturn’s glorious rings. These views are possible again because Cassini has changed the angle at which it orbits Saturn and now regularly passes above and below Saturn’s equatorial plane. Steeply inclined orbits around the Saturn system also allow scientists to get better views of the poles and atmosphere of Saturn and its moons.

Cassini’s recent return of ring images has started to pay off. A group of scientists has restarted the imaging team’s studies of the famous propeller features. These features are actually small, longitudinally limited, orbiting gaps in the rings that are cleared out by objects smaller than known moons but larger than typical ring particles.

“We’re entering a new episode in Cassini’s exploratory voyage through the Saturn system,” said Carolyn Porco, imaging team lead, based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. “These new ring results are an early harbinger of great things to come. So watch this space!”

Full Story: http://www.ciclops.org/view.php?id=7234&js=1

Also: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-199

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