Cassini pierced the ring plane and rounded Saturn on Oct. 27, 2004, capturing this view of the dark portion of the rings. A portion of the planet's atmosphere is visible here, as is its shadow on the surface of the rings.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera on Oct. 27, 2004, at a distance of about 618,000 kilometers (384,000 miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 1001 nanometers. The image scale is 33 kilometers (21 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 Cassini-Huygens 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org .
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute