Saturn’s rings viewed in the mid-infrared show bright Cassini Division

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Saturn's rings viewed in the mid-infrared show bright Cassini Division

A team of researchers has succeeded in measuring the brightnesses and temperatures of Saturn’s rings using the mid-infrared images taken by the Subaru Telescope in 2008.

The images are the highest resolution ground-based views ever made.

They reveal that, at that time, the Cassini Division and the C ring were brighter than the other rings in the mid-infrared light and that the brightness contrast appeared to be the inverse of that seen in the visible light.

The data give important insights into the nature of Saturn’s rings.

The beautiful appearance of Saturn and its rings has always fascinated people.

The rings consist of countless numbers of ice particles orbiting above Saturn’s equator. However, their detailed origin and nature remain unknown. Spacecraft- and ground-based telescopes have tackled that mystery with many observations at various wavelengths and methods.

The international Cassini mission led by NASA has been observing Saturn and its rings for more than 10 years, and has released a huge number of beautiful images.

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News source: NAOJ.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is credited to NAOJ.