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Saturn, Where Are Your Rings?

In 1612, Galileo was shocked as to why Saturn’s “appendages” had disappeared. It wasn’t until later that century that the mystery was solved: Saturn has rings, and when Earth crosses this ring plane it appears as though the rings disappear. The robot Cassini spacecraft now orbits Saturn and produces a treasure trove of images.

This one was dug up in Cassini’s image archive by amateur Spanish astronomer Fernando Garcia Navarro. From NASA’s website:

Pictured above, digitally cropped and set in representative colors, is the striking result [of Navarro’s search through the archive]. Saturn’s thin ring plane appears in blue, bands and clouds in Saturn’s upper atmosphere appear in gold. Details of Saturn’s rings can be seen in the high dark shadows across the top of this image, taken back in 2005. Moons appear as bumps in the rings.

Image credit: NASA


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