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The Cassini spacecraft begins the second half of its mission by finding a faint ring around the planet Saturn. The ring, noted by the cross in the photo, lies in the orbits of the moon’s Janus and Epimetheus. The new ring was visible as the sun illuminated the planet from behind. rn
Following are interesting photos and discoveries made by Cassini in the last few weeks. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
The tiny bluish dot is Earth as seen from Saturn.
Fingers of icy materials reach tens of thousands of kilometers outward from Saturn’s moon Enceladus into the E ring. This is likely a trail of particles ejected by geysers on Enceladus.
The rings of Saturn are darkened by the planet’s shadow.
The Cassini spacecraft unlocks new mysteries as it scoots by Titan every few months. In January 2005, Cassini launched the Huygens probe which made a successful landing on the surface of Titan.
This impact crater on Titan is about 19 miles across. Craters such as this one give scientists a chance to study the structure beneath the crust of Titan’s surface. In this crater the dark floor indicates smooth or highly absorbing materials.
These dunes have been discovered in the equatorial region of Titan. Not much is known about them.
The Saturn moon Enceladus spits fountains of water into the atmosphere.
An older photo shows two of Saturn’s moons, Prometheus (right) and Pandora along the F ring. Craters are clearly visible.
Helene, which is about 20 miles across, is a Trojan moon of Dione.
Giant canyons rip through ancient craters on the surface of Saturn’s moon Dionne. In this image, the Sun overexposes the bottom of Dionne.