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Cassini Images Featured in National Geographic
11.27.06
Cassini images in National Geographic
These breathtaking images and others from the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft are featured in the December 2006 issue of National Geographic magazine. The cover story, "Saturn As You've Never Seen It," explains how the Cassini mission is solving mysteries about the origin of the solar system. The magazine also features a special map supplement showing an updated view of the solar system, reflecting the new status of Pluto as a "dwarf planet." The Saturn cover got thousands of votes in an online poll asking readers to match wits with the editor to guess what the cover would be.
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Top: Saturn's most prominent feature, its dazzling ring system, takes center stage in this stunning natural color mosaic which reveals the color and diversity present in this wonder of the solar system.
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Middle Left: With giant Saturn hanging in the blackness and sheltering Cassini from the sun's blinding glare, the spacecraft viewed the rings as never before, revealing previously unknown faint rings and even glimpsing its home world.
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Middle Right: While cruising around Saturn in early October 2004, Cassini captured a series of images that were stitched together to create the largest, most detailed, global natural color view of Saturn and its rings ever made.
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Bottom Left: Few sights in the solar system are more strikingly beautiful than softly hued Saturn embraced by the shadows of its stately rings.The gas planet's subtle northward gradation from gold to azure is a striking visual effect that scientists don't fully understand.
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Bottom Center: Mimas drifts along in its orbit against the azure backdrop of Saturn's northern latitudes in this true color view. The long, dark lines on the atmosphere are shadows cast by the planet's rings.
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Bottom Right: Speeding toward pale, icy Dione, Cassini's view is enriched by the tranquil gold and blue hues of Saturn in the distance. The horizontal stripes near the bottom of the image are Saturn's rings.
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The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. All photos credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.