July 27, 2010
The shadow of Saturn's rings grows wider on the planet as the planet moves away from its August 2009 equinox, when the rings cast a pencil-thin shadow.
See The Rite of Spring for a view of Saturn with only a narrow shadow cast by the rings.
Saturn is overexposed here in order to show the dim rings. Pandora (below the rings to the left) has been brightened by a factor of 1.3 relative to the planet and the rings to enhance its visibility. The image was taken using a compression scheme that decreases image file size for storage onboard the spacecraft, and thus the image appears slightly blocky, or "pixelated" following enhancement.
This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 7 degrees below the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on June 24, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.1 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Saturn and at a sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 84 degrees. Image scale is 124 kilometers (77 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