The searing arc of light seen here is Saturn's icy F ring, seen nearly edge-on. In the background, Rhea (1,528 kilometers, or 949 miles across) is lit by reflected light from Saturn and the rings, with only the slightest sliver of light at its bottom being from direct sunlight.
The faint material surrounding the F ring likely lies in the planet's equatorial plane, extending radially farther out and in from the main F ring core. A smaller fraction of this material could be vertically extended, and Cassini's investigations should help to clarify this.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 30, 2005, at a distance of approximately 689,000 kilometers (428,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is approximately 4 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