Cassini Image Mosaic: A Farewell to Saturn

A Farewell to Saturn
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NASA has released a breathtaking final mosaic image of Saturn, captured by the Cassini mission just two days before its final dive into the Saturnian atmosphere, where the spacecraft become a shooting star in the skies of the planet that it had studied for thirteen years. The Cassini team has released a mosaic captured by the wide-angle camera on the spacecraft.”A Farewell to Saturn” The image includes some moons of Saturn, Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, Epimetheus, Mimas and Enceladus.

A Farewell to Saturn

Some moons of Saturn can be seen in the image. Image: NASA.

Cassini has beamed back so many images and observations, that the science” Farewell to Saturn” and image processing are sufficient to keep astronomers busy for at least another sixty years. The Cassini team had been planning on constructing this final view of the planet for years. The images processed into the mosaic were among the final set of images captured of the gas giant till another spacecraft goes on a mission to Saturn. For those in the Cassini team who also worked on the Voyager 1 mission, the experience of compiling the image was similar to that of obtaining the final image of Saturn captured by the Voyager 1 Spacecraft.

The probe snapped a series of images that has been assembled into a new mosaic.

Imaging scientists stitched these frames together to make a natural colour view. The scene also includes the moons Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, Epimetheus, Mimas and Enceladus.

“Cassini’s scientific bounty has been truly spectacular a vast array of new results leading to new insights and surprises,” Farewell to Saturn” from the tiniest of ring particles to the opening of new landscapes on Titan and Enceladus to the deep interior of Saturn itself,” said Robert West, Cassini’s deputy imaging team leader at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US.

The Cassini imaging team had been planning this special farewell view of Saturn for years. For some, when the end finally came, it was a difficult goodbye.

“It was all too easy to get used to receiving new images from the Saturn system on a daily basis, seeing new sights, watching things change,” said Elizabeth Turtle, an imaging team associate at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the US.

“For 37 years, Voyager 1’s last view of Saturn has been, for me, one of the most evocative images ever taken in the exploration of the solar system,” said Carolyn Porco, former Voyager imaging team member and Cassini’s imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, “Farewell to Saturn”Colorado. “In a similar vein, this ‘Farewell to Saturn’ will forevermore serve as a reminder of the dramatic conclusion to that wondrous time humankind spent in the intimate study of our Sun’s most iconic planetary system.”

Launched in 1997, the Cassini spacecraft orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017. The mission made numerous dramatic discoveries, including the surprising geologic activity on Saturn’s moon Enceladus and liquid methane seas on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Cassini ended its journey with a dramatic plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017, returning unique science data until it lost contact with Earth.

 

For others, Cassini’s farewell to Saturn is reminiscent of another parting from long ago.

“For 37 years, Voyager 1’s last view of Saturn has been, for me, one of the most evocative images ever taken in the exploration of the solar system,” said Carolyn Porco, former Voyager imaging team member and Cassini’s imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in the US.

“In a similar vein, this ‘Farewell to Saturn’ will forevermore serve as a reminder of the dramatic conclusion to that wondrous time humankind spent in the intimate study of our Sun’s most iconic planetary system,” said Porco.

Launched in 1997, the Cassini spacecraft orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017.

“Farewell to Saturn”The mission made numerous dramatic discoveries, including the surprising geologic activity on Saturn’s moon Enceladus and liquid methane seas on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

Cassini ended its journey with a dramatic plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15, this year, returning unique science data until it lost contact with Earth.

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