Set starkly against the blackness of space are the F ring's delicate strands which are periodically gored by its shepherding moon, Prometheus.
Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) and Pandora (81 kilometers, or 50 miles across) both interact with the ring but neither is visible here. Prometheus has the larger effect. See Soft Collision for a movie of Prometheus creating a streamer-channel in the ring.
A star can be seen through the ring in the lower third of the image.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 33 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 11, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1 million kilometers (620,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 37 degrees. Image scale is 6 kilometers (4 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