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Dramatic image of Saturn includes solar system's inner planets

Image of Saturn and inner planets captured by Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL
Image of Saturn and inner planets captured by Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A new natural-color image of Saturn from space is the first in which Saturn, its moons and rings, and Earth, Venus and Mars all are visible, NASA said Tuesday.

The panoramic image of the majestic Saturn system was created by combining 141 wide-angle images taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in orbit around the ringed planet, the space agency reported.

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The image was unveiled at the Newseum in Washington Tuesday.

"In this one magnificent view, Cassini has delivered to us a universe of marvels," Carolyn Porco, Cassini's imaging team lead at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., said.

The image encompasses nearly 405,000 miles across Saturn and its inner rings, NASA scientists said.

"With a long, intricate dance around the Saturn system, Cassini aims to study the Saturn system from as many angles as possible," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Beyond showing us the beauty of the Ringed Planet, data like these also improve our understanding of the history of the faint rings around Saturn and the way disks around planets form -- clues to how our own solar system formed around the sun."

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Cassini has been exploring the Saturn system since it arrived there in 2004 on a voyage lasting seven years from its launch in 1997.

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