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Cassini's 'Last Dance': A final portrait at Saturn

Cassini's 'Last Dance': A final portrait at Saturn

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NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / Ian Regan

Cassini's 'Last Dance': A final portrait at Saturn

In the early afternoon of September 13, 2017, the venerable and much-loved Cassini probe captured this final portrait of Saturn and its main ring system, before plummeting to fiery destruction in the planet's hazy atmosphere just 48 hours later.

Using its Wide-Angle Camera (part of the Imaging Science Subsystem), Cassini snapped 75 photos: these images can be grouped into a grid of 6 by 2. Each footprint in that grid was covered with both long and short exposures via the red, green, and blue filters, plus a longer exposure shuttered through the clear filter.

The veteran spacecraft took nearly two hours to collect these data: starting at 1:09 PM and concluding at 3:17 PM (all times are UTC). Only three moons—Enceladus, Janus and Mimas—can be picked out in the uncalibrated and compressed data.

Cassini's 'Last Dance': A final portrait at Saturn (annotated)

NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / Ian Regan

Cassini's 'Last Dance': A final portrait at Saturn (annotated)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. For uses not allowed by that license, contact us to request publication permission from the copyright holder: Ian Regan

Original image data dated on or about September 13, 2017

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