Top 12 Most Astonishing Images Taken by Cassini.

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A still image from Cassini's Grand Finale film. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Launched on October 15, 1997, Cassini entered Saturn's orbit after a long interplanetary voyage on July 1, 2004. For the last 13 years, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has returned thousands of stunning images and made many scientific discoveries about the giant planet, its rings, moons and atmosphere. As Cassini begins its #GrandeFinale, here are top 12 most astonishing images highlighting its epic journey. 


12. A Giant Red Rose. 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
The spinning vortex of Saturn's north polar storm resembles a deep red rose surrounded by green foliage. This false-colour image was made by using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light.


11. Bull's-eye Moons.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Like a cosmic bull's-eye, Enceladus and Tethys line up almost perfectly for Cassini's cameras. The image was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.1 million kilometers from Enceladus and 2.6 million kilometers from Tethys.


10. The Yin and Yang moon.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
In 2007, the Cassini captured this high-resolution view of the bright trailing hemisphere of Iapetus. Iapetus has also called the yin and yang of the Saturn moons because its leading hemisphere is dark and its trailing hemisphere is bright.



09. The Triple crescent Moons.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
A single crescent moon is a familiar sight in Earth's sky, but with Saturn's many moons, we can see three or even more. The three moons shown here are Titan Mimas and Rhea.


08. Tethys tops Saturn.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
An illusion of perspective, Saturn’s moon Tethys seems to hang above the planet's north pole. The image was taken with the Cassini's wide-angle camera on Jan. 26, 2015.


07. An Ice World with an Ocean.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Dramatic plumes, both large and small, spray water ice and vapour from many locations along the famed 'tiger stripes' near the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus. 



06. A Glorious view.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Cassini delivered this glorious view of Saturn, on October 17, 2012, while the spacecraft was in Saturn's shadow. Since images like this can only be taken while the sun is behind the planet, there are only two times Cassini has captured a view like this.



05. Saturn approaching its northern Summer.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
This Natural view shows Saturn's northern hemisphere and its shadow on the rings as Saturn’s season advances toward northern summer. Saturn's year is nearly 30 Earth years long, and during its long time there, Cassini has observed winter and spring in the north, and summer and fall in the south. 



04. The Uranus from Saturn’s orbit.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
On April 11, 2014, Cassini captured this rare image of the blue ice-giant planet Uranus [indicated by a arrow] in the distance beyond Saturn’s rings. When this view was obtained, Uranus was nearly at a distance of 28.6 astronomical units from Saturn.


03. Catching the Tail.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
On February 25, 2011, Cassini captured this true-colour view where the huge storm was moving through the atmosphere in Saturn's northern hemisphere formed a tail that wrapped around the planet.




02. Earth as seen from Saturn.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
The tiny blue light indicated by the arrow is Earth as seen from Saturn, 1.44 billion kilometres [898 million miles] away. This iconic image was taken on July 19, 2013, by the wide-angle camera on Cassini spacecraft.



01. Saturn in a moment of Solar eclipse.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
As Saturn eclipsing the sun, Cassini captured this majestic moment on September 15, 2006, from its orbit. The night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by the light reflected from its own ring system. The rings themselves appear quite bright and slightly scattering the sunlight. Far in the distance, visible on the image left just above the bright main rings, [covered by a black box] is the almost ignorable presence of our home planet Earth. 


On this historic moment NASA also released a short animated video describing Cassini's Grand Finale.



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