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New NASA Cassini picture: Is Saturn's moon Mimas heading for collision with the planet's rings?

The Image Was Taken In Green Light With The Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-angle Camera On Oct. 23, 2016 From A Distance Of Approximately 114,000 Miles (183,000 Kilometers) From Mimaswith An Angle Of 29 Degrees.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Bindiya Bhatt | Updated on: 21 Dec 2016, 05:07:23 PM
Incredible Cassini image shows Saturn's moon Mimas crashing into its rings, but NASA says it's an optical illusion

New Delhi:

NASA's Cassini proble, which is currently on the last leg of its mission, will come to an end in 2017. On mission Saturn, the spacecraft is currently doing flybys of the planet and is trying to get closest to its rings.

Since its launch in 1997, NASA Cassini probe has successfully been delivering informative insights about Saturn including some stunning images of the planet.

Well now, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent back another picture showing Mimas, Saturn's moon, close, near the rings of the planet.

When you look at the image, you will feel if Mimas is about to crash into the rings. But hold on, no need to panic, as NASA makes it clear that Mimas is actually 28,000 miles (45,000 kilometers) away from the rings and the incredible picture is just an optical illusion.

"There is a strong connection between the icy moon and Saturn's rings, though. Gravity links them together and shapes the way they both move,' NASA said.

Waves are formed in Saturn's rings due to the gravitational pull of Mimas (246 miles or 396 kilometers across). The waves can be seen in some Cassini probe images. 

Cassini Division, which separates the A and B rings are also formed by the gravity of Mimas. Cassini probe's narrow-angle camera clicked a picture in green light on October 23, 2016.

The view looks toward Mimas' anti-Saturn hemisphere. North on Mimas is up and rotated 15 degrees to the right. 

The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 23, 2016 from a distance of approximately 114,000 miles (183,000 kilometers) from Mimaswith an angle of 29 degrees. 

The picture shows the A and F rings of Saturn appearing warped where they intersect the limb of the planet, the atmosphere of which acts here like a very big lens.

"In its upper regions, Saturn’s atmosphere absorbs some of the light reflected by the rings as it passes through. But absorption is not the only thing that happens to that light," said Nasa.

"As it passes from space to the atmosphere and back out into space towards Cassini’s cameras, its path is refracted, or bent. The result is that the ring's image appears warped."

The initial four-year mission to explore the Saturn System was completed by Cassini in June 2008. It completed the first extended mission, the Cassini Equinox Mission, in September 2010.

The spacecraft is up for some more amazing discoveries in a second extended mission called the Cassini Solstice Mission.

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First Published : 20 Dec 2016, 02:51:00 PM

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NASA Cassini Saturn Rings Mission