This newly released image of Saturn was taken by the Cassini Spacecraft several months before ending its mission on September 15, 2017.
Stunning views like this image of Saturn’s night side are only possible thanks to our robotic emissaries like Cassini. Until future missions are sent to Saturn, Cassini’s image-rich legacy must suffice.
Because Earth is closer to the Sun than Saturn, observers on Earth only see Saturn’s day side. With spacecraft, we can capture views (and data) that are simply not possible from Earth, even with the largest telescopes.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 7 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on June 7, 2017.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 751,000 miles (1.21 million kilometers) from Saturn. The image scale is 45 miles (72 kilometers) per pixel.
The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency), and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.