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Holiday Lights: Dazzling New Views of Saturn and its Moons

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 9:39am
AP

 Winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere of Saturn and with this cold season has come the familiar blue hue that was present in the northern winter hemisphere at the start of NASA's Cassini mission. This view looks toward the non-illuminated side of the rings from about 44 degrees below the ring plane. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)PASADENA, CA (AP) — A NASA spacecraft has sent holiday greetings from the outer solar space.

The space agency on December 23, 2013, released dazzling new images of the ringed planet Saturn and its moons. The Cassini spacecraft took the pictures earlier this year.

Saturn resembled an ornament in one image, with a jet stream swirling at its north pole along with a hurricane-like storm.

Cassini also peered through the hazy atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, revealing hydrocarbon lakes. The icy Saturn moon Enceladus appears as a white snowball.

Cassini, funded by NASA and the European and Italian space agencies, was launched in 1997. The spacecraft reached Saturn in 2004 and has been studying the planet and its many moons.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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