In 1997, NASA launched the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft to explore and photograph the mysterious planet Saturn. And 20 years later, NASA released high-resolution photos of exactly what the unmanned spaceship was able to see.
Researchers at NASA and the European Space Agency teamed up to design Cassini-Huygens in the 1980s. Named after astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens, the spacecraft was designed to not only photograph the planet, but also to collect data from it and its 62 moons. These latest photos came from Cassini-Huygens's final phase - called the Grand Finale - which started in April 2017. On September 15, 2017, Cassini's mission came to a close, and it burned up in Saturn's upper atmosphere.
This beautiful shot of Saturn was taken on January 18, 2017, and it shows a view of the planet from about 7 degrees below the ring plane.
The surface of Saturn is home to many gasses and high winds, which make the planet appear almost painted from space. Winds on Saturn can reach up to 1,100 mph.
This is a storm off the top of Saturn's north pole. Researchers estimate the storm is 1,250 miles across.
In these two photos stitched together by NASA, we see the swirling clouds of Titan, one of Saturn's moons. Both images are infrared, but the bottom was exposed for a longer amount of time, showing the power of the clouds at different wavelengths.