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Cassini spies Venus through Saturn’s rings, says NASA

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has taken stunning new photos of Venus, according to a space agency news release.

The Cassini-Huygens is a three-axis spacecraft prepared for 27 different science investigations, making it one of the most ambitious missions ever sent into space. In addition to a variety of powerful instruments and cameras, Cassini-Huygens can take precise measurements and amazing images in a variety of atmospheric conditions and light spectra.

Last November, Cassini captured a particularly special image of Venus when it was located in the shadow of Saturn. The spacecraft’s placement allowed it to shoot a backlit image of Saturn and its rings in a special viewing geometry called “high solar phase.” According to NASA, high solar phase can reveal details about both the rings and atmosphere that cannot be ascertained in lower solar phase.

In January, Cassini spied Venus through Saturn’s rings and across interplanetary space. Venus “shines like a bright beacon” in the spacecraft’s stunning new photos, says the space agency.

According to NASA, Venus is a world of intense heat and volcanic activity. Sometimes referred to as Earth’s twin, Venus’ toxic atmosphere traps heat in a runaway “greenhouse effect.” adds that Venus is the hottest world in the solar system. In fact, temperatures on Venus reach 870 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than hot enough to melt lead. The website notes that the probes that have landed on Venus have only survived a few hours before getting annihilated by the planet’s intense heat. Venus’ atmosphere consists primarily of carbon dioxide with clouds of sulfuric acid.