Saturn From the Top Down

Our image of the year shows the planet from a striking new perspective.


This spectacular vista, shot by the Cassini spacecraft, shows Saturn’s northern hemisphere and its rings from a top-down perspective, a view impossible from Earth. The picture is a combination of a dozen image footprints taken on Oct. 10, during the partial government shutdown that forced most NASA employees off the job. 

But Cassini, obeying only the laws of physics and its programming, kept snapping photos and relaying them to a Jet Propulsion Laboratory website. Gordan Ugarkovic, a software developer in Croatia, knew where to find them.


The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on, please log in.

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar

Log in to your account

Email address:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it emailed to you.

Not registered yet?

Register now for FREE. It takes only a few seconds to complete. Register now »