Cassini Delivers Saturn Holiday Pictures

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BOULDER, Colo., Dec. 22 (UPI) — NASA says its Cassini spacecraft has delivered some holiday gifts in the form of stunning new images of the planet Saturn and its varied moons.

The pictures, released by Cassini’s imaging team, show Saturn’s largest, most colorful “holiday ornament,” the moon Titan, and other icy baubles in orbit around the ringed planet, a space agency release said Thursday.

As Earth’s northern hemisphere experiences the chill of winter, Saturn’s northern half is enjoying springtime — and will for several Earth years, astronomers say.

Current plans are to extend the Cassini mission through 2017, which will mean an ongoing bounty of scientifically significant and majestic views of Saturn and its moons and rings, NASA said.

“As another year traveling this magnificent sector of our solar system draws to a close, all of us on Cassini wish all of you a very happy and peaceful holiday season, ” Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team lead at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., said.

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