Prepare To Be Astonished: NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Captures The Most Detailed Photos Of Saturn’s Rings Ever
The most detailed and most spectacular photos of Saturn’s rings have been released by NASA and they are absolutely glorious. While soaring through the cosmos, the Cassini spacecraft captured these awe-inspiring images of Saturn’s main rings. These photos show the closest view of the outer parts of Saturn ever witnessed. The incredible images are extraordinarily detailed and clearly show objects that are as large as 0.3 miles, about the same scale as some of Earth’s tallest buildings.
During Cassini’s “ring-grazing” mission phase, the spacecraft found “propellers,” which are gaps in the material stretching thousands of miles which scientists believe are created by moonlets.
“At that time [when the spacecraft arrived in 2004], fine details like straw and propellers — which are caused by clumping ring particles and small, embedded moonlets, respectively — had never been seen before,” NASA said in a statement.
The photo below shows Saturn’s A ring, the outermost of the large, bright structures, which lies about 83,574 miles from Saturn.
The rippled appearance is called the “density wave,” which is made up of icy particles that clump together into shapes that the scientists call a “straw.”
The photos are just not beautiful, but they also are scientifically significant because they suggest that the planet’s rings may actually be made up of millions of orbiting moonlets that were previously unseen. Scientists were aware that Saturn’s rings are comprised of ice, rocks, and dust, but now believe it also features moonlets, which start at the size of a house and range to a half-mile in diameter.