Cassini shoots through the gap between Saturn and its rings, returning the closest views ever of the planet

On the first of 22 scheduled dives between Saturn and its innermost rings yesterday, Cassini zoomed at 77,000 miles per hour to within 1,900 miles of the planet’s cloud tops — and emerged intact.

After re-establishing contact with ground controllers very early Thursday morning, the spacecraft began returning the closest views yet of the gaseous planet’s atmosphere.

The unprocessed image above was acquired toward the start of the dive at 7:49 a.m. on April 26, 2017. It shows the behemot

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