Cassini Shoots Stunning New Images of Saturn

This spectacular image of Saturn, released June 7 by NASA, shows sunlight scattered through the uppermost part of the planet's atmosphere. The sun is eclipsed in this photo, but enough light permeates the atmosphere to reach Cassini's cameras. The Cassini orbiter snapped this photo Feb. 13, 2010. NASA

Along with its main mission of scientific research, NASA’s Cassini orbiter is one heck of a photographer.

NASA just released the striking image above, which shows the upper layers of Saturn’s atmosphere illuminated by the eclipsed Sun. And that’s far from the the only modernist photo Cassini has snapped over the years.

The spacecraft has been swinging around Saturn and its moons for six years now (its arrival anniversary is June 30), returning interesting and sometimes surprising data about the extreme environments found at the sixth planet.

All the while, it has been sending back beautiful, sometimes surreal portraits of the Bringer of Old Age.

Check out our gallery of Cassini’s colorful images.