This bizarre scene shows the cloud-streaked limb of Saturn in front of the planet's B ring. The ring's image is warped near the limb by the diffuse gas in Saturn's upper atmosphere.
For additional examples of this effect, see Warp Zone, Funhouse Atmosphere and Bending the Rings .
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 31 degrees below the ringplane. North on Saturn is up.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 24, 2008 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 750 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 657,000 kilometers (408,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 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