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Saturn equinox, Cassini image

Saturn equinox, Cassini image

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Credit

NASA / JPL / SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL / SPACE SCIENCE INSTITUTE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Saturn equinox, Cassini image. Saturn, a gas giant planet with an extensive ring system, is over 120,000 kilometres across. Equinoxes occur every 15 Earth years (twice every Saturn year) when the Sun passes directly overhead at the planet's equator. This results in the ring system casting a narrow shadow on the planet (visible here), as opposed to the broader shadow cast on one of the hemispheres at other times of the year. This mosaic includes the moon Mimas (lower left) and brightening of the rings to make them more visible. The images were obtained on 4 September 2009, by the wide-angle camera on the orbiting Cassini spacecraft.

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