Rings Around a Crescent
November 1, 2010
A crescent Saturn appears nestled within encircling rings in this Cassini spacecraft image.
Clouds swirl through the atmosphere of the planet. Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) orbits between the main rings and the thin F ring, and this moon appears as a speck above the rings near the middle of the image.
This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 3 degrees below the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Sept. 14, 2010 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 890 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.6 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 100 degrees. Image scale on Saturn is 151 kilometers (94 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