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Saturn's Spectacular Rings Detailed In NASA Pictures


NASA has released some amazing images of Saturn's rings.

The images, taken by NASA's Cassini orbiter and taken from thousands of kilometres away, show some of the divisions in the rings to be almost as wide as the planet Mercury.

The 2,980-mile-wide (4,800-kilometer-wide) division in Saturn's rings is thought to be caused by the moon Mimas. This image, the latest in a series, was posted on Tuesday.

Parts of Saturn's main rings appear dark in backlit views. Some rings are comparatively tenuous and made up of dust particles that tend to scatter light in roughly the original direction it was traveling.

Nasa has released many images of the plant, its moons and its rings in recent months.

Saturn's moon Enceladus, with it's wrinkled plains. Nasa says the moon's surface is "remarkably youthful in appearance, being generally free of large impact craters."

Saturn's moon Tethys looks like it's floating between two sets of rings, but NASA says it's just a trick of geometry. The rings, which are seen nearly edge-on, are the dark bands above Tethys, while their curving shadows paint the planet at the bottom of the image.

Saturn’s unusual appearance in this picture, released in August last year, is a result of the planet being imaged via an infrared filter, at a distance of approximately 930,000 miles.

It's not the first time Saturn has impressed with stunning images, with a recent video showing the planet's six sided jet stream.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency.

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