Saturn's rings and its moon Rhea are imaged before a crescent of the planet. The shadows of the rings continue to grow wider after their disappearing act during the planet's August 2009 equinox.
See The Rite of Spring for a view of Saturn with only a pencil-thin ring shadow. This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.
Rhea (1,528 kilometers, or 949 miles across) is near the center of the image.
The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 6, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.9 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 128 degrees. Image scale is 112 kilometers (70 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