Home > Ephemeris Program, NASA, Saturn > 04/25/2017 – Ephemeris – The Cassini spacecraft is on its last 22 orbits of Saturn

04/25/2017 – Ephemeris – The Cassini spacecraft is on its last 22 orbits of Saturn

April 25, 2017

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 25th.  The Sun rises at 6:41.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 8:40.  The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:08 tomorrow morning.

In the early hours of last Saturday, Earth Day, The Cassini spacecraft, orbiting Saturn for the last nearly 13 years, made its last pass of Saturn’s giant moon Titan.  Over the past 13 years Cassini has been using Titan as a kind of fulcrum to leverage its orbits of Saturn, returning time and time again to both study this strange moon and to propel it via gravity assists into a myriad of orbits.  This time however, with one last gravitational assist, Cassini was flung into a series of 22 daring orbits which will take it into a couple of thousand mile gap between the rings and the planet.  On orbit 22, if it doesn’t collide with an errant ring particle, Cassini will burn up in Saturn’s atmosphere, going something like 70,000 miles an hour on September 15th.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Cassini's grand finale

In its planned last 22 orbits of Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft will pass between the innermost ring and the planet itself. Credit NASA, JPL.

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  1. Richard Kuschell
    April 25, 2017 at 11:17 am

    70,000 mph! Is that the fastest satellite?

    • April 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      I’d think that the Juno spacecraft travels faster at its close passes over the cloud tops of Jupiter.

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