December 12, 2006
The contrast is sharp between the outer portion of the A ring edge and the ring's main body. One explanation for this is that the outer A ring region contains smaller particles (around 1 centimeter or 0.4 inches in radius) than the main rings, allowing more opportunities for light scattering before it scatters toward the camera.
Ringlets in the Encke Gap and flanking the bright F ring core are clearly visible here.
This view looks toward the lit side of the rings from about 4 degrees below the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 752 nanometers on Nov. 7, 2006. Cassini was then at a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometers (700,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 140 degrees. Image scale on the sky at the distance of Saturn is 6 kilometers (4 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