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This Monday, Aug. 17, marks the final targeted flyby of Dione, one of Saturn’s…

This Monday, Aug. 17, marks the final targeted flyby of Dione, one of Saturn’s…

This Monday, Aug. 17, marks the final targeted flyby of Dione, one of Saturn’s many moons, in Cassini’s long mission. During this flyby, the science team will conduct a gravity experiment that will contribute to our knowledge of the internal structure of Dione. We will also learn more about its outer ice shell, and will be able to compare this with Saturn’s other icy moons.

Beyond the icy moons, Saturn is adorned with thousands of beautiful ringlets, While all four gas giant planets in our solar system have rings – made of chunks of ice and rock – none are as spectacular or as complicated as Saturn’s. Like the other gas giants, Saturn is mostly a massive ball of hydrogen and helium.

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This image of Saturn was taken using an infrared filter. Using this type of filter can help scientists determine the location of clouds in the planet’s atmosphere. The darker areas reveal clouds that are lower in the atmosphere, while the bright areas are higher altitude clouds. 

Since Cassini reached Saturn in 2004, it has captured important data and images. This spacecraft has the ability to “see” in wavelengths that the human eye cannot, and it can “feel” things about magnetic fields and tiny dust particles that no human hand could detect. These heightened “senses” have allowed us to have a better understanding of Saturn, its moons and the solar system.

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Learn more about Cassini & Saturn: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/

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