Saturn, the ring planet, is undoubtedly one of the most photogenic planets in the solar system. The beauty of the planet was explored more closely when in the late 1970s the Pioneer 11 visited the Saturnian System to get the first close-up shot of the planet. Now, thanks to NASA's (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) legendary Hubble Space Telescope that can look at planets over time and produce long-term images than any flyby probe possibly can.
Now we can get to see Saturn and explore its beauty better.
Recently, the Hubble Space Telescope by NASA released a breath-taking video that pans across Saturn. The image captured shows several Saturn moons, namely Tethys, Janus, Mimas, Enceladus and Rhea. The jaw-dropping image was captured in June because it was the time when Saturn was in 'opposition', meaning, it was at its closest to the Earth during the year.
It is around this time, that the rings of Saturn appear the brightest and can be viewed from the Earth and is visible from sunset through sunrise. This was also the only time when the Earth was positioned between the Sun and the seventh planet in the solar system that boasts of its beautiful rings.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope also posted the video showing the orbits of Saturn moons Tethys, Janus, Mimas, Enceladus and Rhea while it was taking photos of the planet while it was capturing photos of the ringed planet.
In an image captured by the Hubble in 2018, Saturn’s geological makeup was a bit different, compared to the latest pictures. Last year, Hubble captured a large storm in the north polar region, but this year's image shows it has disappeared.
Saturn is not just the only planet with the ring. Other planets - Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune - too have rings but Saturn stands out for having the brightest ring compared to others. According to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft findings, these rings formed 200 million years ago after a moon disintegrated in Saturn’s orbit. First identified Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens in 1655, Saturn’s rings are composed of orbiting particles of ice and dust.