June 18, 2009
The Cassini spacecraft catches Janus joining other Saturnian moons in the equinox shadow-casting party.
As Saturn approaches its August 2009 equinox, the planet's moons cast shadows onto the rings. To learn more about this special time and to see a movie of a moon's shadow moving across the rings, see Moon Shadow in Motion.
Janus (179 kilometers, or 111 miles across) is not visible in this image, but its shadow stretches across Saturn's A and F rings. Three background stars are visible in the image.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 21 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 10, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 965,000 kilometers (600,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 46 degrees. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 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