First, NASA captured what looked like one of Saturn’s moon almost on top of the other in a bulls-eye formation. Now, it’s released a stunning image that appears to show one of its moon’s almost crashing into the planet’s rings.
In the image shot by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, the razor-thin rings appear to cut Dione in half. The scene was captured from just 0.02 degrees above the ring plane and taken at a distance of about 1.4 million miles.
It was shot by the spacecraft’s narrow-angle camera on Dec. 25 but only released this week.
The bright streaks of Dione's wispy terrain are seen near the moon's limb at right while the medium-sized crater Turnus (63 miles wide) is visible along Dione's terminator.
The Dione picture is the latest in a series of a stunning space images from NASA. Last month, NASA released an amazing image of the haze layers in Pluto’s atmosphere taken by the New Horizons spacecraft. And in December, the space agency released the latest batch of images of Encleadus, an icy moon near Saturn.
The Cassini-Huygens mission concludes in late 2017, with the spacecraft repeatedly diving through the space between Saturn and its rings during its final year.