As the Cassini spacecraft hurtles toward a rendezvous with Saturn on June 30 (July 1, Universal Time), both Cassini and the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope snapped spectacular pictures of the planet and its magnificent rings.
Cassini is approaching Saturn at an oblique angle to the sun and from below the ecliptic plane. Cassini has a very different view of Saturn than Hubble’s Earth-centered view. For the first time, astronomers can compare equally sharp views of Saturn from two very different perspectives.
Erich Karkoschka of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory took Hubble’s latest view of Saturn on March 22, 2004. The picture is so sharp that many individual ringlets can be seen in the planet’s ring plane. Electronic image files and additional information are online at http://hubblesite.org/news/2004/18.
The Hubble Space Telescope is an international project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Space Telescope Science Institute is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA, under contract with the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
The Cassini/Huygens mission is a joint mission of NASA, ESA, and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL.
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