PIA11576: Wide Shadow of Janus
- Original Caption Released with Image:
A wide shadow is cast onto the thin F ring and the A ring by the moon
Janus in this image taken as Saturn approached its August 2009 equinox.
The novel illumination geometry created around the time of Saturn's August
2009 equinox allows moons orbiting in or near the plane of Saturn's
equatorial rings to cast shadows onto the rings. These scenes are possible
only during the few months before and after Saturn's equinox. which occurs
only once in about 15 Earth years. To learn more about this special time
and to see movies of moons' shadows moving across the rings, see PIA11651
Janus (179 kilometers, or 111 miles, across) is not pictured. This view
looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 41 degrees
above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft
narrow-angle camera on July 14, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance
of approximately 1.6 million kilometers (994,000 miles) from Saturn and at
a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 87 degrees. Image scale is 9
kilometers (6 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.
- Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Image Addition Date:
Image and caption provided by the Planetary Photojournal --