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Explore Saturn’s Rings

  • By Susan K. Lewis
  • Posted 04.04.06
  • NOVA

If Galileo Galilei had sat in mission control for the Cassini spacecraft when it entered Saturn's orbit, he would have been astonished. When he discovered the planet in 1610, looking through a primitive telescope, he perceived Saturn's rings as two large moons flanking the planet. Cassini is now helping to answer fundamental questions about the rings and capturing stunning close-up imagery that Galileo could never have imagined.

Launch Interactive

Tour Saturn’s spectacular rings and learn how old they are, how they formed, what they are made of, and more.

This feature originally appeared on the site for the NOVA program Voyage to the Mystery Moon.

Credits

Special Thanks

Linda J. Spilker, NASA

Images

(Saturn, three of Saturn's moons, panorama of Saturn's rings, close-up of gaps in Saturn's rings, close-up of Saturn's C ring, Pan in Saturn's rings, artist's view of Cassini)
Courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
(Saturn's rings seen through UV)
Courtesy NASA/JPL/University of Colorado
(particles of Saturn's rings)
© William Hartmann, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson
(diagram of Saturn's rings)
Courtesy NASA/JPL
(Saturn and Earth)
© Walter Myers
(Saturn montage)
Courtesy NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScl/AURA)
(Ganymede)
Courtesy NASA

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