From a viewing angle slightly above the ringplane Cassini spied Saturn's moon Atlas, which orbits Saturn between the broad A ring and the thin F ring. The background of Saturn's atmosphere (a uniform grey in this image) lies approximately 76,000 kilometers (47,000 miles) beyond the little moon. Atlas is 32 kilometers (20 miles) across.
This image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 18, 2005, at a distance of approximately 914,000 kilometers (568,000 miles) from Atlas. Resolution in the original image was 5 kilometers (3 miles) per pixel. The image has been contrast-enhanced and magnified by a factor of two to aid visibility.
When viewed from the dark (unlit) side, the rings are essentially an inverse of their familiar appearance (see From the Dark Side and Rings from Afar to compare the different views).
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.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute