Saturn: Our Ringed Planet

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Thanks to NASA’s Cassini Space Probe astronomers are now able to produce the most detailed maps of Saturn’s rings in history. This image of Saturn, back-lit by our sun, reveals previously unknown layers of rings. From a distance the rings look ordered and tidy. However, up close, Cassini has found that Saturn’s rings are very complex. The spacecraft has been making repeated dives into the ring belts to study their properties. It has discovered completely empty regions where moons have formed and dense regions which transmit waves through ripples of debris.

(Image Credt: NASA/JPL/CASSINI PROBE)

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