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Inspiring Views Celebrate Cassini's Diamond Anniversary

The opposition effect, a brightness surge that is visible on Saturn's rings when the Sun is directly behind the spacecraft, is captured here as a colorful halo of light moving across Saturn's sunlit rings. For a movie of Cassini's Flight over Iapetus please go here.
by Staff Writers
Boulder CO (SPX) Oct 16, 2007
Ten years ago today, NASA's Cassini spacecraft departed planet Earth from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and embarked on a seven-year long, circuitous journey of several billion miles across the solar system to the planet Saturn. To celebrate this special occasion, the mission's imaging team is releasing today a spate of captivating new images and movies of the ringed planet and some of its most photogenic companions.

Headlining this bounty are two expansive and stunning natural color mosaics of Saturn and its rings. One of these is the view seen by the spacecraft as it looked back towards Saturn from its close encounter with the moon Iapetus last month, and shows the shadow-draped planet surrounded by its rings and many of its major icy moons. Another view peers down onto the planet's swirling blue and gold clouds and its splendid rings from a vantage point high above Saturn's equator.

Along with several other colorful views of the planet, there are dramatic vistas (including one stereo image, or anaglyph) of the cratered faces of a few of the planet's icy moons, a high resolution survey of the main ring system in natural color, colorful glimpses of Titan and an updated black-and- white map of Titan's surface.

Two exciting movies from Cassini also make their debut today. One sequence shows the detailed motions of the F-ring as its shepherd moon Prometheus approaches the ring, draws material from it, and gouges a channel in the dust-sized material remaining there.

But by far the most thrilling offering of all is a breathtaking flyover movie of the awesome 10-kilometer (6-mile) high equatorial ridge on Iapetus, acquired when Cassini was only a few thousand kilometers about the surface.

Imaging team leader Carolyn Porco at CICLOPS in Boulder, Colo. said, "To the thousands upon thousands of fellow explorers who have traveled along with us since we departed Earth 10 years ago today, who have followed our adventures across the solar system and into orbit around Saturn and who have since been as awestruck as we have at our findings there, we say, 'Happy Anniversary! It's been a pleasure flying with you.'"

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Cassini Mission To Saturn Celebrates 10 Years Since Launch
Boulder CO (SPX) Oct 12, 2007
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its launch from Cape Canaveral, the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn is once again at the center of scientific attention. Its latest discoveries about the ringed planet are a leading topic of conversation among the nearly 1,500 scientists gathered this week at a major astronomy conference in Orlando, Fla.

  • Checking Out New Horizons
  • Pluto-Bound New Horizons Sees Changes In Jupiter System
  • Maneuver Puts New Horizons On A Straight Path To Pluto
  • Outbound To The Outerplanets At 7 AU

  • Opportunity Begins Sustained Exploration Inside Crater
  • HiRISE Releases Color Images, Movie Of Prospective Landing Sites On Mars
  • Spirit Arrives At Stratigraphic Wonderland In Columbia Hills On Mars
  • Duck Bay, Victoria Crater, Planet Mars

  • New Isotope Molecule May Add To Venus' Greenhouse Effect
  • 500 Days At Venus, And The Surprises Keep Coming
  • Up Up And Away To Venus
  • Spacecraft Tandem Provides New Views Of Venus

  • MESSENGER Team Wraps Up Radio Science Test
  • NASA Spacecraft Ready For Science-Rich Encounter With Venus
  • Venus Flyby Helps Drive The Message Home
  • Deep Space Radar Cuts Mercury to Core As Messenger Lines Up For Venus Flyby

  • New Horizons' SWAP instrument Reveals Complex Structure, Diverse Plasma Populations In Jupiter's Magnetotail
  • Polar lightning - not just an earthly phenomenon: study
  • Jupiter: Friend Or Foe
  • Researchers Produce Images Of Gases Escaping From Io

  • Predicting Planets
  • Star System Just Right For Building An Earth
  • Colors Of Alien Plants
  • All Planets Possible

  • Japan's lunar probe enters orbit as space race heats up
  • Goddard Lunar Science On A Roll
  • Lunar Outpost Plans Taking Shape
  • A New Lunar Impact Observatory

  • Successful Image Taking By The High Definition Television
  • Boeing Launches WorldView-1 Earth-Imaging Satellite
  • New Faraway Sensors Warn Of Emerging Hurricane's Strength
  • Key Sensor For Northrop Grumman NPOESS Program Passes Critical Structural Test

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