This movie sequence of images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft offers a unique perspective on Saturn’s ring system. Cassini captured the images from within the gap between the planet and its rings, looking outward as the spacecraft made one of its final dives through the gap as part of the mission's Grand Finale.
Using its wide-angle camera, Cassini took the 21 images in the sequence over a span of about four minutes during its dive through the gap on Aug. 20, 2017. The images have an original size of 512 x 512 pixels; the smaller image size allowed for more images to be taken over the short span of time.
The entirety of the main rings can be seen here, but due to the low viewing angle, the rings appear extremely foreshortened. The perspective shifts from the sunlit side of the rings to the unlit side, where sunlight filters through. On the sunlit side, the grayish C ring looks larger in the foreground because it is closer; beyond it is the bright B ring and slightly less-bright A ring, with the Cassini Division between them. The F ring is also fairly easy to make out.
For a labeled view of Saturn's rings, see PIA08389.
The Cassini Solstice Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.