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Target 3: Saturn

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Target 3: Saturn

Anna Marie Aguinaldo

Cassini Science Planner

Computer simulation of Target 3: Saturn
Software used by the Cassini science planning team simulates the field of view the cameras on board the Cassini spacecraft can capture at a specific date and time. This is a computer-generated image of a portion of Saturn as seen by the Cassini spacecraft's Narrow Angle Camera on Oct. 19, 2012.
+ Click on the image for a larger view

Hi, my name is Anna Marie and I am a Cassini science planning and sequencing engineer.

My job is to work with the science team to plan observations. I also work with the flight team to build the command sequences that control the Cassini spacecraft.

My choice is number three, Saturn and its rings.

For starters, a snapshot of Saturn's atmosphere contrasted next to its beautiful rings would make a dazzling image. What weather conditions might we see on Saturn when the image is taken?

Beautiful rings and Saturn's weather are reason enough to take this image.

In addition, the bright star Spica will be at the CENTER of this image.

As Cassini passes by, Spica will be blocked, or "occulted," by the rings. During an occultation, the light from a star is blocked by objects passing in front of the star, in this case Saturn's rings.

By measuring how much light from the star is blocked by the material in the rings, scientists can learn a lot about them.

Occultations can provide a broad understanding of ring structure and thickness; and information on the shapes and sizes of the particles in the rings and how they interact.

I think you should choose Target three because it will return a stunning picture of Saturn with its rings.

As an added bonus, the occultation will further help scientists better understand the structure of the puzzling rings of Saturn.

Good luck.