CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

A Rare Celestial Spectacle

Cassini's images of Saturn's August 2009 equinox have captured one of the solar system's greatest spectacles, and the preliminary results are beautiful, startling and profound. (News release can be found here.)

Sep 21, 2009: The Rite of Spring - Of the countless equinoxes Saturn has seen since the birth of the solar system, this one, captured here in a mosaic of light and dark, is the first witnessed up close by an emissary from Earth.
Sep 21, 2009: Ring Scan Spilling Secrets - New insights into the nature of Saturn's rings are revealed in this panoramic mosaic of 15 images taken during the planet's August 2009 equinox.
Sep 21, 2009: Extensive Spiral Corrugations - Alternating light and dark bands, extending a great distance across Saturn's C and D rings, are seen for the first time in this Cassini image taken as the planet approaches its August 2009 equinox.
Sep 21, 2009: Inner B Ring Terminus - This mosaic of Cassini images, part of a larger mosaic of images captured just hours before exact equinox at Saturn, shows that the spiral corrugation in the planet's inner rings continues right up to the inner B ring ... an unexpected result that scientists are working to understand.
Sep 21, 2009: Rain on the Plane - The bright streaks visible in these Cassini images taken during Saturn's August 2009 equinox are exciting evidence of a constant rain of interplanetary projectiles onto the planet's rings.
Sep 21, 2009: New Views on Old Finds - These two Cassini images, taken four years before Saturn's August 2009 equinox, have taken on a new significance as data gathered at equinox indicate the streaks in these images are likely evidence of impacts into the planet's rings.
Sep 21, 2009: Giant Propeller in A Ring - An unusually large propeller feature is detected just beyond the Encke Gap in this Cassini image of Saturn's outer A ring taken a couple days after the planet's August 2009 equinox.
Sep 21, 2009: Shadows and More Shadows - Several sets of shadows are cast onto the A ring in this image taken about a week after Saturn's August 2009 equinox.
Sep 21, 2009: New Heights for Edge Waves - Ring material, pulled to spectacular heights above the ringplane by the gravity of the moon Daphnis, casts long shadows on Saturn's A ring in this Cassini image taken about a month before the planet's August 2009 equinox.
Alliance Member Comments
jsc248 (Oct 14, 2009 at 6:12 AM):
Seeing images of Saturn like these are as mind blowing as they are breathtakingly beautiful. The weather proccesses at work within the clouds create these fantastic storms for us to marvel over. To coin a phrase, they are simply "Out Of This World!".
4thHorseman (Sep 23, 2009 at 3:02 PM):
Fantastic! Saturn's atmosphere always looks like it's covered in opals :-)
graurog (Sep 21, 2009 at 11:05 PM):
graurog (09/21/09

Awesome (as in the dictionary definition)
vera (Sep 21, 2009 at 3:19 PM):
Amazing! Wonderful images!

Want to add a comment?   Login (for Alliance Members) ... or ... Join the CICLOPS Alliance!