Balancing It Out
February 22, 2010
Two small but stately moons appear above and below the rings on the left of this image, serving to visually offset the dominance of Saturn on the picture's right.
Rhea (1,528 kilometers, or 949 miles across) is on the far left, below the rings in the image. Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles across) appears as a small bright dot near the middle left.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 26, 2009 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 98 degrees. Image scale is 131 kilometers (81 miles) per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute