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News Release Archive:

News Release 209 of 955

February 15, 2010 04:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2010-09

Hubble Captures Saturn's Double Light Show

February 15, 2010: In January and March 2009, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took advantage of a rare opportunity to record Saturn when its rings were edge-on, resulting in a unique movie featuring the nearly symmetrical light show at both of the giant planet's poles. It takes Saturn almost thirty years to orbit the Sun, with the opportunity to image both of its poles occurring only twice during that time. The 2009 Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys data used in this movie have allowed astronomers to monitor the behavior of Saturn's poles in the same shot over a sustained period of time and to analyze the planet's northern and southern lights simultaneously.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and Jonathan Nichols (University of Leicester)