This expansive view takes in most of Saturn's main ring system, from the outer C ring to the narrow and knotted-looking F ring. The broad brightness plateaus in the C ring (at bottom) transform into the more densely populated (and thus darker in this viewing geometry) B ring. The rings' appearance becomes brighter and smoother beyond the bands of the Cassini Division, in the A ring.
This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 49 degrees above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible blue light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 21, 2006 at a distance of approximately 539,000 kilometers (335,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 98 degrees. Image scale is 29 kilometers (18 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/home/index.cfm. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.