Squashed As It Spins
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Squashed As It Spins

November 6, 2007

Saturn's density is so low, and its rotation is so fast, that the planet bulges around its waistline as is spins.

Saturn is nearly 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) wider at its equator than at its poles, and its oblateness is clearly visible in this view.

The view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 2 degrees below the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Sept. 2, 2007. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.9 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 109 kilometers (68 miles) per pixel.

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