NASA’s Cassini Probe Captures Stunning Views of Saturn’s Moon Dione


NASA's Cassini probe, which has been in orbit around Saturn for over a decade, just sent back a handful of gorgeous images of the planet's rocky moon Dione. The picture above, taken on Wednesday, shows a close-up of Dione's surface with the bright rings of Saturn peeking out from behind.

This shot and a few others were intended to capture a region known as Eurotas Chasmata, the streaky features of which were first captured 35 years ago by Voyager 1.

Related: Saturn's Spongy Moon, Hyperion, Gets Final Close-Up from Cassini Probe


A second picture shows a shadowy Dione against the massive backdrop of Saturn itself, with the planet's rings bisecting the image at a perfect 45-degree angle. That bright spot in the top right corner is Enceladus, the moon famous for its mysterious and photogenic geysers.

Related: Map Reveals 101 Geysers on Saturnian Moon Enceladus

These shots were taken from about 48,000 miles out, during Cassini's fourth flyby of Dione. In mid-August, the bus-size probe will make its final Dione flyby, coming within 295 miles of the surface. In 2017, Cassini will end its mission and plunge into Saturn's clouds, 13 years after it began orbiting the ringed planet.