December 14, 2009
While studying Saturn's atmosphere, the Cassini spacecraft happens to catch a view of two small, icy satellites.
Mimas (396 kilometers, or 246 miles across) drifts past on the far right of the image. Janus (179 kilometers, or 111 miles across) appears as a black dot just below the rings near the center of the image.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from about 1 degree above the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 15, 2009 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 975,000 kilometers (606,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 68 degrees. Image scale is 109 kilometers (68 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