Cassini snaps Saturn from a dizzying height

 作者:宫绍     |      日期:2017-11-10 07:01:31
By Kelly Young (Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute) (Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute) (Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute) Saturn and its golden rings appear in dizzying new images taken by the Cassini spacecraft as it flew high above the planet’s poles. “Finally, here are the views that we’ve waited years for,” says Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, US. “Sailing high above Saturn and seeing the rings spread out beneath us like a giant, copper medallion is like exploring an alien world we’ve never seen before. It just doesn’t look like the same place,” she continues. “It’s so utterly breathtaking, it almost gives you vertigo.” For the last two months, Cassini has been taking pictures during high-latitude trips around Saturn, providing new views of the planet and its rings. You can see the full collection of Saturnian images here. One of the pictures includes a top-down view of Saturn with the overexposed planet removed from the shot to showcase all of the golden rings. Still, an eerie shadow is cast over them by the ghost planet. The distant moon Dione pops by in another oblique shot of Saturn (scroll down for more images). There, the rings cast striped shadows on the planet. In a black-and-white picture, the viewer seems to be looking up at the shadowy gaseous planet. There is also a movie made up of 34 images taken by Cassini over 12 hours as it passed through the plane of the rings. Six moons make cameo appearances in the clip. Other frames were later inserted to make the film appear less jerky. By late June 2007, Cassini is once again expected to be flying in the plane of the rings, so there will be limited opportunities for such high-latitude views. Cassini and its Titan-plunging daughter spacecraft, Huygens, launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in 1997, and the probe has been orbiting Saturn since 2004. More on these topics: