Saturn's rings

Photojournal: PIA17137

October 7, 2013

The shadow of Saturn cuts across the rings in this recent Cassini spacecraft image. As the ring particles enter Saturn's shadow, their temperature drops to even colder temperatures, only to warm back up again when they re-emerge into the sunlight. Ring scientists think that these temperature swings may help change the physical properties of the ring particles.

Eight stars are visible in this image, including one through the rings.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 56 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible violet light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 29, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 639,000 miles (1.0 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 128 degrees. Image scale is 4 miles (6 kilometers) 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 in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit or . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at .

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute