The Cassini spacecraft probes Saturn's atmosphere, peering beneath the hazes that obscure the flowing cloud bands at visible wavelengths. Brighter areas in this view generally represent features higher in the atmosphere than darker areas. (The dark region at far right is, of course, on the planet's night side.)
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings and was acquired from about 38 degrees above the ringplane. It was taken a few minutes after Coming to Light.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 2, 2008 using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of polarized infrared light centered at 728 and 705 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 929,000 kilometers (577,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 52 kilometers (32 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.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute