Marvel at the images from Cassini's first Grand Finale orbit

 作者:寇堰茏     |      日期:2019-02-26 06:11:04
NASA./JPL-Caltech/SSI/Jason Major By Leah Crane On 26 April, the Cassini spacecraft swung between Saturn and its rings, closer than any spacecraft has ever been before. This was the start of its Grand Finale, which will end with its demise as it crashes into the planet. Here are some of the astonishing images it’s taken so far. Above is an image of Saturn’s north pole, which is enveloped by a huge hexagonal storm. Before swooping down toward the planet, Cassini flew high over its north pole, snapping images of the pole and rings (below). NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute As it neared the planet, travelling at over 100,000 kilometres per hour, it took a series of pictures of Saturn’s thick atmosphere, which is swept by winds and swirling storms (below). NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute It also took images of Saturn’s diffuse outer rings (below) and its tiny, icy moon Enceladus. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Enceladus (below) spews jets of liquid water from its internal ocean, which is one of the most promising locales for life in our solar system. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute These images are raw, appearing as they were received from the spacecraft. In the coming days and weeks, imaging experts will process the pictures, sharpening them and adding data from Cassini about colour. Graphic designer and space blogger Jason Major has gotten a head start, giving us a preview of what those final images might look like (at top and below). NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Jason Major More on these topics: