Incredible NASA Photos Show Saturn's Rings and Clouds

NASA has unveiled amazing new views of the planet Saturn showcasing the ringed wonder's moons, rings and turbulent atmosphere as seen by the Cassini spacecraft.

The first photo, which NASA released on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), clearly shows Saturn's south pole and distinctive rings. But the image also holds a few surprises.

The shadow of Saturn's moon Mimas appears in the photo as a small, oblique dark spot slightly to the left and above the planet's south pole. Mimas is perhaps best known for a huge crater that dominates one of its hemispheres, leading some "Star Wars" fans to compare its look to the "Death Star."

This photo, taken in August by the Cassini orbiter, shows Saturn, Janus and Mimas as well as the planet's distinctive rings.
CREDIT: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute

by Miriam Kramer, SPACE.com Staff WriterDate: 28 December 2012 Time: 01:17 PM ET

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