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Top 6 Discoveries Of Cassini As Its 20-Year Mission Comes To An End

19 Sep 2017, 14:01 UTC
Top 6 Discoveries Of Cassini As Its 20-Year Mission Comes To An End
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One of the most spectacular mosaic images of Saturn taken by Cassini, this 2016 view shows the north pole, the rings, the planet’s shadow, and the nearly-fully illuminated face of our Solar System’s most visibly-ringed world. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.Last week, Cassini plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere. Here are the top 6 things we learned from it while it was alive.“Being a scientist and staring immensity and eternity in the face every day is as grand and inspiring as it gets.” -Carolyn PorcoOf all the planets in the Solar System, the one that first became a mystery to skywatchers goes as far back as the invention of the telescope itself. When Galileo first used his earliest magnifying device to view the heavens, Venus exhibited the full suite of phases; Mars went from gibbous to full and back again; always-full Jupiter revealed its largest moons to us; but Saturn was an enigma, appearing to display “ears” as Galileo noticed them. Over the years, it became that Saturn was even more wondrous, exhibiting rings with gaps in them, many moons of various sizes and other interesting properties, banded structures, transient storms and much more. The advent of modern telescopes and the Voyager ...

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