Still bright in planet Earth’s night skies, good telescopic views of Saturn and its beautiful rings often make it a star at star parties. But this stunning view of Saturn’s rings and night side just isn’t possible from telescopes closer to the Sun than the outer planet. They can only bring Saturn’s day into view.
A robot spacecraft from planet Earth, Cassini called Saturn orbit home for 13 years before it was directed to dive into the atmosphere of the gas giant on September 15, 2017.
This magnificent mosaic is composed of frames recorded by Cassini’s wide-angle camera only two days before its grand final plunge. Saturn’s night will not be seen again until another spaceship from Earth calls.
Image credit NASA, JPL-Caltech, Space Science Institute, Mindaugas Macijauskas