• Science
  • Space

The Spacecraft Cassini Captured the First Detailed View of Saturn’s North Pole

1 minute read

The Cassini spacecraft, fast approaching its final days after more than a decade of exploring Saturn, captured a view of the planet’s north pole in April as it neared the gap between Saturn and its rings. The spacecraft’s photo, released on Monday, shows the sun hitting Saturn, offering the most detailed look yet at the planet’s north pole, according to NASA.

Cassini captured the photo on the first day of its “Grand Finale,” or, last grazing orbit of Saturn. The spacecraft, which has explored the ringed gas giant since 2004, has reached the end of its useful life. It will commit suicide on Sept. 15 by crashing into Saturn’s clouds and succumbing to the planet’s atmosphere.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com