This brooding portrait shows the southwest limb (edge) of the cold gas giant and the thread-like cloud features lurking there. The limb appears smooth, but at the terminator (the boundary between light and dark) and at higher resolution, variations in cloud height can cause shadows that are visible to Cassini (see Such Great Heights).
The image was taken in visible, red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 30, 2005, at a distance of approximately 401,000 kilometers (249,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 155 degrees. Image scale is 20 kilometers (13 miles) per pixel. The image was contrast enhanced to improve visibility of features in the atmosphere.
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