Listen to the sound of silence in Saturn orbit

Saturn and rings

The hexagon-shaped cloud system at Saturn’s north polar region looms in the foreground with the planet’s rings stretching across the background, in an image captured by the Cassini spacecraft’s camera on April 26. Click on the image for a larger version. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / Kevin M. Gill Image / CC-BY-2.0)

The researchers behind NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn are relieved, and a bit mystified, to discover that the narrow gap between the giant planet and its rings is virtually devoid of stray particles.

The discovery comes from the bus-sized Cassini spacecraft’s first dive through the gap on April 26, which marked the beginning of the end for the 20-year mission.

“The region between the rings and Saturn is ‘The Big Empty,’ apparently,” Cassini project manager Earl Maize of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a news release.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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