December 8, 2006
Crescent Saturn is girded by its dark belt of ice in this marvelous portrait of the planet and the "dark" side of its rings. This is the unlit side of the rings, where sunlight filters feebly through the lanes of particles.
This view is a mosaic of two images. No data were taken to fill in the missing block in the upper left quadrant, and the inner part of the rings is cut off there.
This view was acquired from about 4 degrees above the ringplane.
The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 727 nanometers on Nov. 6, 2006. Cassini was then at a distance of approximately 1.3 million kilometers (800,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 148 degrees. Image scale is 77 kilometers (48 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