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Saturn Ring-Plane Crossing
Saturn Ring-Plane Crossing (click to enlarge)

Saturn Ring-Plane Crossing
Date: 22 May 1995

This image from the Hubble telescope documents a rare astronomical alignment: Saturn's magnificent ring system turned edge-on. This event occurs when the Earth passes through Saturn's ring plane, as it does about every 15 years.

In these pictures, Hubble can see details on Saturn as small as 450 miles (725 km) across. In each image the dark band across Saturn is the ring shadow cast by the sun, which is still slightly above the planet's ring plane.

Last Update: 24 Jun 2011 (AMB)

Credit: NASA

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Last Updated: 24 Jun 2011