February 20, 2012
Saturn's moon Mimas joins the planet's rings which appear truncated by the planet's shadow in this Cassini spacecraft image.
Saturn is off to the left, out of view here. The inner rings are just visible there. But the planet's shadow covers part of the rings across the middle of the image. Mimas (246 miles, or 396 kilometers across) is closer to Cassini than the rings are here.
The bright speck above the rings is a star.
To increase visibility, the rings have been brightened by a factor of two relative to Mimas. This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from just below the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 21, 2011. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.7 million miles (2.7 million kilometers) from Mimas. Image scale is 10 miles (16 kilometers) per pixel on Mimas.
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-Caltech/Space Science Institute