Intricate Details of Saturn’s Rings Are Revealed in Latest Cassini Images

Ripple-like density waves created by the passing of small shepherd moons fill this section of Saturn’s A ring as seen by Cassini on Dec. 18, 2016. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

Like those fractal designs that were so popular in the ’90s Saturn’s rings reveal finer and finer structures the nearer Cassini gets, now in the final year of its mission. Recent images from the spacecraft, captured in December 2016, show groove-like density waves and skyscraper-sized clumps within the planet’s icy rings—and it’s just a hint at what we’ll be seeing over the next several months as Cassini passes closer and closer.

“These close views represent the opening of an entirely new window onto Saturn’s rings, and over the next few months we look forward to even more exciting data as we train our cameras on other parts of the rings closer to the planet,” said Matthew Tiscareno, a Cassini scientist who studies Saturn’s rings at the SETI Institute.

Read the rest of this story from NASA here: Close Views Show Saturn’s Rings in Unprecedented Detail