A startling silhouette of Saturn is created in this Cassini spacecraft portrait.
Although the sun is eclipsed by Saturn in this dramatic image, some sunlight scatters through the uppermost part of the atmosphere to reach Cassini's cameras. See High-Phase Drama to learn more.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Feb. 13, 2010 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 392,000 kilometers (244,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 174 degrees. Image scale is 20 kilometers (12 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