The shadow of the moon Mimas has just slipped off Saturn's rings and onto the planet in this Cassini spacecraft image.
The shadow is visible as a short dash below the rings' shadows on the planet. At this exposure setting, the rings are too dim to be seen easily. As Saturn approaches its August 2009 equinox, the planet's moons cast shadows onto the rings. To learn more about this special time and to see a movie of a moon's shadow moving across the rings, see Moon Shadow in Motion.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 61 degrees above the ringplane. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on April 30, 2009 at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 80 kilometers (50 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