NASA Releases Dazzling New Photographs of Saturn

The international Cassini spacecraft has beamed back to Earth never-before-seen angles of Saturn from high above and below its majestic rings.

The planet is fully surrounded by the rings in images released Thursday by NASA.

"Finally, here are the views that we've waited years for," Cassini scientist Carolyn Porco of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., said in a statement.

• Click here to view a movie of Cassini passing through the plane of Saturn's rings.

"It just doesn't look like the same place. It's so utterly breathtaking, it almost gives you vertigo," Porco said.

Cassini snapped the images while in a highly inclined orbit during the past two months.

The $3.3 billion Cassini mission, funded by NASA and the European and Italian space agencies, was launched in 1997. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

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