Only Half the Rings
July 20, 2010
Saturn's moon Janus orbits in front of the rings, which are partially darkened by the shadow of the planet in this Cassini spacecraft view.
Saturn's shadow obscures about half the rings. This can been seen on the left of the image, where a dark ring feature seems to stop abruptly as it meets the darkness of the planet's shadow above the edge of the bright rings.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane, and toward the leading hemisphere of Janus (179 kilometers, or 111 miles across). North on Janus is up. Janus is closer to Cassini than the rings are.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 10, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles) from Janus and at a sun-Janus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 65 degrees. Image scale is 8 kilometers (5 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