The "opposition effect" can be seen in this image of Saturn's B ring. The bright spot occurs where the angle between the spacecraft, the Sun and the rings is near zero.
Studies of the opposition effect on Saturn's rings may help scientists constrain some of the properties of ring particles, such as their sizes and spatial distribution.
Another recently released image from Cassini also shows this interesting effect of viewing geometry (see Rings At Opposition).
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on June 26, 2005, at a distance of approximately 478,000 kilometers (297,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 3 kilometers (2 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.
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