The slim crescent of the moon Rhea glides silently onto the featureless, golden face of Saturn in this mesmerizing color movie. In an interplay of contrast and shadow, the moon goes dark against the planet, and then its crescent suddenly brightens as it slips in front of Saturn's night side.
This view looks down onto the unlit side of Saturn's rings, which cast soft, linear shadows onto the planet's northern hemisphere.
The movie was created using 60 images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters over a period of about 45 minutes.
The images were acquired by the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 21, 2006, at a distance of approximately 221,000 kilometers (137,000 miles) from Rhea. The image scale is approximately 13 kilometers (8 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.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.
Note: this release was formerly entitled "Rhea Occults Saturn."
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute