Saturn’s rings, made of countless icy particles, form a translucent veil in this view from our Cassini spacecraft.
January 15 | 2018
That little dot peeking through the ring gap is Saturn’s tiny moon Pan, which is about 17 miles across. Beyond, we can see the arc of Saturn itself, its cloud tops streaked with dark shadows cast by the rings. This image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 12, 2016, at a distance of approximately 746,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Pan. Although the Cassini spacecraft ended its mission on Sept. 15, 2017, an enormous collection of data about Saturn – the giant planet, its magnetosphere, rings and moons – will continue to yield new discoveries for decades to come. Want to learn more about the giant ringed planet? Check out the latest Gravity Assist Podcast to explore all of Saturn’s mysteries: go.nasa.gov/GravityAssistSaturn Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Darker, cooler areas on the Sun – known as sunspots – have been absent for almost two weeks, as of Feb. 1.
February 06 | 2018
A single, tiny one appeared on Jan. 31, but even that is hard to see in this rotating view from our Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows a rotating sun in filtered light for the past week, but it is even hard to tell the sun is rotating since there are just about no features. This spotless period is a prelude to the approaching period of solar minimum next year, when the Sun’s activity will be at the low end of its 11-year cycle. Credit: NASA/SDO