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These are Cassini’s parting shots of the Saturn system

Saturn's G Ring

The Cassini spacecraft took one final round of images on its farewell tour of the Saturnian system. This raw image, taken September 13 and received on Earth on September 14, showcases Saturn’s hallmark rings.

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Here are the final images from Cassini’s last look around the Saturn system.

In its last hours before plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere, the Cassini spacecraft turned its cameras to the mission team’s favorite objects: the hydrocarbon-shrouded moon Titan, the geyser moon Enceladus and, of course, the majestic rings.

After sending these raw images back to Earth, Cassini reconfigured itself to stream data efficiently in near–real time. Image files are too big to send in this mode, so these are the last pictures Cassini will ever show us. But it will send back unprecedented information about Saturn’s atmosphere right up until the end.

The tiny moon Enceladus, which has a liquid sea below its icy surface and spews geysers of water into space, set behind Saturn as Cassini watched:

Saturn looms large in this Sept. 14 raw image from the Cassini spacecraft:

The hazy moon Titan is the largest in the Saturn system. Its gravity nudged Cassini onto its doomed orbit when the spacecraft flew by on September 11:

Planetary Science

The Cassini probe dies tomorrow. Here’s how to follow its end

By Helen Thompson 2:30pm, September 14, 2017
Science News is on the scene at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the big finish of the Cassini mission to Saturn.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science

So long, Titan. Cassini snaps parting pics of Saturn’s largest moon

By Lisa Grossman 4:05pm, September 13, 2017
The last swing past Saturn’s largest moon sent Cassini heading directly towards the planet — and showed how future spacecraft will explore other moons.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science

Final flyby puts Cassini on a collision course with Saturn

By Lisa Grossman 4:00pm, September 11, 2017
A “last kiss goodbye” with Saturn’s largest moon sent the Cassini spacecraft on its final trajectory into the planet’s atmosphere.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science

Pluto’s pits, ridges and famous plain get official names

By Lisa Grossman 6:05pm, September 7, 2017
From Adlivun to Voyager, the International Astronomical Union officially names 14 surface features on the dwarf planet.
Animals,, Biophysics

Why bats crash into windows

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, September 7, 2017
Smooth, vertical surfaces may be blind spots for bats and cause some animals to face-plant, study suggests.
Particle Physics

The results from a slew of experiments are in: Dark matter remains elusive

By Emily Conover 8:00am, September 6, 2017
Scientists continue the search for particles that make up the universe’s missing matter.
Archaeology,, Anthropology,, Human Evolution

People may have lived in Brazil more than 20,000 years ago

By Bruce Bower 7:00am, September 5, 2017
Stone Age humans left behind clues of their presence at a remote Brazilian rock shelter.
Anthropology,, Psychology

Spiritual convictions and group identities inspire terrorist acts, study finds

By Bruce Bower 11:00am, September 4, 2017
Sacred values and becoming one with comrades fuels terrorist acts, a report finds.
Planetary Science

Rings of Uranus reveal secrets of the planet’s moon Cressida

By Ashley Yeager 2:00pm, September 1, 2017
By studying variations in the rings of Uranus, researchers have determined the mass and density of the planet’s moon Cressida.
Cancer,, Genetics

FDA approves gene therapy to treat a rare cancer

By Science News Staff 5:17pm, August 30, 2017
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Kymriah to treat a rare cancer. It’s the first-ever gene therapy approved in the United States.
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