Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and is the second largest of the Solar System, just behind Jupiter. This planet belongs to the group of gaseous giants, has about 95 terrestrial masses and orbits an average distance of 9,5 astronomical units.
Recently, the Cassini spacecraft approached Saturn’s rings, to the point of being able to see in detail, in impressive detail, the objects with the size of a building. These are undoubtedly the best images ever captured from the rings of the gaseous planet.
These are the new images collected by the Cassini spacecraft, operated by NASA, ESA and by the Italian Space Agency that was able to photograph the rings of Saturn with a proximity never before achieved. Although the main rings of the gaseous planet have been previously photographed by this same probe, the orbiting it now describes allows for greater detail in the images. We can see objects only 550 meters long (the size of some of the tallest buildings in the world), something extremely small on the astronomical scale.
The approach of the Cassini spacecraft to the rings of Saturn is part of the penultimate phase of a mission with 20 orbits. The purpose of these orbits is to know what lies beyond the main rings of the gaseous planet. NASA expects to continue to receive such images until the end of April, when Cassini is wandering from ring to ring. For now, it will be on the moons of Pandora and Daphne collecting the best-defined images ever captured by space agencies.
Since the year 2004 that Cassini collects images of Saturn, the images previously captured were less defined and the details were less visible. Now, with access to more detailed photos, scientists hope to “open an entirely new window for Saturn’s rings” and further refine the cameras so that better images can be captured in the future.