Titan appears to drift above Saturn's ringplane

Photojournal: PIA07519

June 13, 2005

Saturn's hazy moon Titan appears to drift above Saturn's ringplane in this view taken only a 10th of a degree above the rings. Titan's small orbital inclination is enough to make it appear above the ringplane from this viewing angle. Titan is 5,150 kilometers (3,200 miles) across.

The Sun is below the rings in this image, so light that makes it to Cassini is that which has been diffusely transmitted through the rings. Thus, the densest parts of the rings appear dark in this image, and the dusty gaps in the rings, such as the Cassini Division, appear bright.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 25, 2005, at a distance of approximately 3.2 million kilometers (2 million miles) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 50 degrees. The image scale is 19 kilometers (12 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, 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 .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

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