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This Video Montage of Saturn’s Rings and Moons Is Simply Gorgeous [Video]

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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For more than nine years, NASA’s Cassini probe has orbited Saturn, examining its rings and moons in unprecedented detail and sending back images of things and places humans had never seen. Filmmaker Fabio di Donato has managed to collapse that discovery and wonder into four minutes. In a new film posted on Vimeo, di Donato cobbled together countless still images of the Saturnian system to compose a beautiful, literally otherworldly montage.

Among the stars of the film: Saturn’s tiny moonlets, which subtly warp the giant planet’s rings; the pockmarked moon Mimas, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Star Wars Death Star; and the two-toned satellite Iapetus, which has one bright hemisphere and one dark one.

The film’s source material is publicly available—Cassini is a taxpayer-funded mission, and its images are distributed freely. The mission, which has captivated scientists and citizens alike, is planetary exploration at its best—a perfect example of why NASA must protect its imperiled planetary science programs, as we argued in an editorial last year.

About the Author: John Matson is an associate editor at Scientific American focusing on space, physics and mathematics. Follow on Twitter @jmtsn.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Finematerial 5:56 pm 07/25/2013

    Shaking images and lights constantly flashing in your face? Not gorgeous. At. All.
    This is about the worst thing they could have done with those pictures.

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  2. 2. jtdwyer 6:41 pm 07/25/2013

    Well, I guess I’m a moderate here – I thought the images were beautiful (for the brief time they were visible), I liked the music, but I don’t think that di Donato needed impart false motion to the video to synchronize with the music. IMO, simply showing the images progressing at a more comfortable pace would have been far better!

    It reminds me of the infuriating video editing effects imparted to otherwise professional scientists in documentaries these days – with even seniors appearing to zoom in, speed up and, are they sometimes stood on their heads? Pathetic! I hope not all potential young scientists suffer from ADHD – or is this just deemed necessary to compete with video games in the youth market?

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  3. 3. BaiShann 9:48 pm 07/28/2013

    Well, the music was great. Too bad just a nanosecond of acknowledgement, although I am sure they were asked for consent and compensated.

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  4. 4. didoxdido 7:51 pm 09/30/2013

    Thank you for all your comments and special thanks to John Matson for his article :-)
    I’ve read any kind of appreciation & critics on the internet about my video, that’s very interesting to me, I understand each one of us has is own rhythm to appreciate things.
    I just want to say that my video was, of course, a personal initiative, and I created it by associating the music with the pictures sequences that were not shot by Cassini with the goal of making a video, but for scientific purposes.
    I used a 30 fps sequence, 1 picture x frame, the speed is a result of this choice and sequences that last more than on sec are pretty rare in the Cassini footage
    This video is my personal tribute to the Cassini mission and to the NASA/ESA missions in general, that I consider as great landmarks in mankind history and no one cent was earned nor asked for the editing of this freely available video
    Ciao :-) Fabio

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