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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Saturn spacecraft gets an eyeful
Saturn: Getting closer all the time

The Cassini-Huygens mission continues to return tremendous images of Saturn.

The double spacecraft is now just two months away from arriving at the ringed planet to begin a four-year expedition of the gas giant and its many moons.

The latest image, taken from 48 million km away, fills the entire field of view of Cassini's narrow angle camera.

Cassini is the mission's primary probe; the piggybacked Huygens is a lander which will attempt to land on the oily seas of Saturn's major moon, Titan.

The latest picture, acquired on 27 March, is actually a composite of three exposures, in red, green and blue. Each pixel represents 286km (178 miles).

It is the last image in which the narrow angle camera will be able to see the whole of Saturn.

It shows distinct colour variations between bands in Saturn's atmosphere; the individual rings are becoming clearer, too.

Two faint dark spots are visible in the southern hemisphere. These spots are close to the latitude where Cassini saw two storms merging in mid-March.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a joint project between the US and European space agencies (Nasa and Esa) and the Italian Space Agency.

Saturn probe sights mystery moons
16 Apr 04  |  Science/Nature
Probe sees storms merge on Saturn
09 Apr 04  |  Science/Nature
Saturn looms large for spacecraft
28 Feb 04  |  Science/Nature
Scientists admire Saturn image
06 Dec 03  |  Science/Nature
Telescopes take close-up on Titan
06 Apr 04  |  Science/Nature
Moon probe set for white-knuckle descent
14 Feb 04  |  Science/Nature

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