December 25, 2006
Only Cassini could provide this enchanting, natural color view of crescent Saturn, which gazes down onto the unlit side of the planet's spectacular rings. The robotic ship plies the peaceful black seas around the ringed giant, searching for answers to the many questions posed by the inquisitive minds of Earth.
This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 19 degrees above the ringplane. The view of Saturn is through the dark rings at bottom; the rings cast shadows onto the northern hemisphere at top.
Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view.
The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 4, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.7 million kilometers (1 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 162 degrees. Image scale is 97 kilometers (61 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