Saturn and its moons: awesome NASA photos

Saturn and its moons: awesome NASA photos

Yes, we know we’d be hard pressed to describe the Cassini spacecraft as a gadget and you certainly won’t be able to buy one for Christmas, but these photos taken from its journey around Saturn are simply too awesome to ignore.

The craft is currently some 1.5 billion kilometres (932 million miles) from Earth, and has been busy gathering stunning images of the Saturnian system at equinox.

Saturn and its moons: awesome NASA photos

During the equinox, long shadows are cast across Saturn’s rings, creating some fantastic images and revealing new secrets about this mysterious planet.

The probe has also taken pictures of Saturn’s weird and wonderful cratered moons, some barely bigger than rocks.

Saturn and its moons: awesome NASA photos

This incredible photo shows plumes of tiny ice particles being ejected from the surface of the moon Enceladus.

The current plans will see Cassini continue to orbit Saturn until September 2010, although it’s been proposed to keep the spacecraft in orbit until 2017, before it commits hari-kari by undertaking a spectacular series of orbits inside the rings before crashing into the planet’s surface on Sept. 15, 2017.

These photos are only  few small examples of the incredible array of images – including some superb animated clips – posted here. Set your desktops to ‘save as wallpaper’ mode!

More info:
Cassini Equinox Mission – NASA/JPL
CICLOPS – Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations
Planetary Photojournal, Saturn – NASA/JPL

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