The Cassini spacecraft spies the small moon Atlas, accompanied by bright clumps of material in the F ring, as it gazes down at the unilluminated side of the rings.
This view looks toward the rings from about 4 degrees above the ringplane. Atlas is a mere 32 kilometers (20 miles) across.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 1, 2007. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 532,000 kilometers (330,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-ring-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 63 degrees at the center of this view. Image scale is about 30 kilometers (18 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