NASA spacecraft captures beautiful photos of Saturn orbit change

NASA's Cassini spacecraft began its Saturn exploration journey in 1997, and it continues to provide the agency with photos of the planet. Earlier this year, it began a mission called the "Grand Finale," in which it goes into Saturn's rings and retrieves information far beyond what NASA originally intended for the spacecraft.

In December, Cassini sent photos of Saturn's new orbit. The latest views are from above the planet's northern hemisphere; Cassini will continue to survey the planet and eventually go deeper into the rings.

Check out other photos from Cassini

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"This is it, the beginning of the end of our historic exploration of Saturn," Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team lead at Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado, told NASA. "Let these images -- and those to come -- remind you that we've lived a bold and daring adventure around the solar system's most magnificent planet."

Here are Cassini's first photos:

Credit: NASA

Cassini will continue to go further and further into the rings of Saturn until late April 2017.