Saturn's Rings Look like a Gene Davis Painting in New Cassini Images

As Cassini finishes its off its last days before taking a final plunge into the heart of Saturn, NASA is sharing us to a lot of new images that show the wonderful mosaic that comprise the Saturnian system. One latest image, released this week, shows an up-close look of Saturn’s rings, reminiscent of an intricately striped Gene Davis painting.

Davis, a famous American Color Field artist, was enamored with stitching together multicolored vertical stripes on a canvas, finely woven together in various sizes so as to mesmerize the viewer into a state of still wonder. Saturn, it seems, had the same idea in mind when it decided to put some rings on it.

Black Watch Series gene davis
Davis's "Black Watch Series 185-3-3"

The new Cassini images are the highest-resolution images of Saturn’s rings ever collected — not bad for a 20-year old spacecraft. The view shows a region of the rings between 61,300 and 65,600 miles from the center of the planet. Cassini snapped these babies up on July 6 of this year, from a distance of about 47,000 miles away.

This first image below is a composite of images taken with green, red, and blue color filters. The water ice caked into the rings would normally create an intense white look — so the color filters, while creating a somewhat false appearance, at least provide a contrast for the viewer to better distinguish the stripes from one-another.

cassini saturn rings
The highest resolution of Saturn's rings ever captured by Cassini.

The narrow rings are about 25 miles wide, while the broader rings range from 200 to 300 miles in width.

This next image below is a color-enhanced picture of the rings emphasizing which rings skew red and which do not.

cassini saturn rings color enhanced
A color-enhanced version of the same image.

On September 15, Cassini will finally trudge headfirst into Saturn as a final farewell, collecting a slew of data on the way to total destruction. Fun stuff!

Media via Gene Davis, via the Smithsonian Institution on Flickr, NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute, NASA