Daybreak From Above
Day breaks on the northern hemisphere of Saturn in this image from the Cassini spacecraft.
The D ring is hidden below the horizon, but, working outward from the planet, this image shows the C, B, A and F rings. The moon Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) is a faint speck inside the thin F ring in the upper left of the image.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 39 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 20, 2009 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 853 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 888,000 kilometers (552,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 121 degrees. Image scale is 50 kilometers (31 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