Bright Rings for Southern Skies
In this view, Saturn's moon Mimas is a mere pinprick of light, while the nearly edge-on rings and the ghostly globe of Saturn steal the scene. Some of the light reflected from the rings bounces onto Saturn and faintly illuminates the planet's southern hemisphere. The strongly lit part of Saturn in the lower right is lit by direct sunlight. Northward of the equator, the planet is largely invisible.
Mimas is 397 kilometers (247 miles) across.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Sept. 11, 2005, at a distance of approximately 2.3 million kilometers (1.5 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is about 140 kilometers (87 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