In this fabulous close-up, Cassini peers directly through regions of the A, B and C rings (from top to bottom here) to glimpse shadows of the very same rings cast upon the planet's atmosphere. Near the top, shadows cast by ringlets in the Cassini division (center) look almost like a photo negative.
This type of image helps scientists probe the rings' structure in detail and provides information about the density of their constituent particles.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 26, 2005, at a distance of approximately 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 14 kilometers (9 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute