Before Immense Saturn
July 22, 2010
The moons Mimas and Janus seem insignificant in front of the immensity of Saturn in this Cassini spacecraft image.
Mimas (396 kilometers, or 246 miles across) is visible above the rings near the center of the image. Janus (179 kilometers, or 111 miles across) is barely detectable as a tiny speck of light below the rings on the left. You may need to enlarge the image to see Janus in this image. 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. 24, 2009 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.6 million kilometers (994,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 85 degrees. Image scale is 93 kilometers (58 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