Cassini and Its Saturnian Adventure

  • Will Gater
Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)


The day of September 15, 2006, was different from most other days around Saturn for the Cassini spacecraft and the hundreds of scientists working on the mission over a billion kilometers away, back on Earth at JPL. On a normal day Cassini would image the day’s set targets as well as make hundreds of measurements of the Saturnian environment from its vast array of onboard equipment. Bathed in the pallid light of the Sun, it would be Earth’s observation post to a giant gaseous world that even today enthralls planetary scientists and astronomers who study it. On this day, however, Cassini was on a course to slip behind the magnificent planet, hidden from the Sun in the inky blackness of space for 12 h. The cameras onboard the craft would then have a rare chance to look back on the huge disc of Saturn silhouetted against space. With the Sun concealed and the planet illuminated from behind, Cassini would be able to image the enormous band of glittering rings around Saturn, each ring composed of millions of pieces of ice, small rocks, and the detritus flung from some of its many moons.


European Space Agency Planetary Scientist Huygens Probe Cassini Spacecraft Saturnian System 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Will Gater
    • 1
  1. 1.DevonUK

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