Cassini swung in close to Saturn as it rounded the planet's night side, beginning another orbit and moving to progressively higher elevations in order to study the rings.
The view here is from 12 degrees above the ringplane, looking down toward the unlit side of the rings. Sunlight shines from beneath the rings, casting thin, curving shadows across the northern latitudes. The view of the planet is cutoff by the dense B ring near the bottom.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May 21, 2005, at a distance of approximately 582,000 kilometers (362,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 35 kilometers (22 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