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In 2010 NASA extended the Cassini mission orbiting Saturn for seven years to the planet’s next solstice, so that the spacecraft could observe Saturn, its moons, and its rings, for one full season of its 28 year orbit.
Today, Cassini reached that target.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft still has a few months to go before it completes its mission in September, but the veteran Saturn explorer reaches a new milestone today. Saturn’s solstice — that is, the longest day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day of winter in the southern hemisphere — arrives today for the planet and its moons. The Saturnian solstice occurs about every 15 Earth years as the planet and its entourage slowly orbit the sun, with the north and south hemispheres alternating their roles as the summer and winter poles.
The article provides a detailed review of all the changes that have occurred during this long time period.