PIA08297: Into the Light

Into the Light


As ring particles emerge from the darkness of Saturn's shadow, they pass through a region of twilight. The Sun's light, refracted by the planet's atmosphere, peeks around the limb, followed shortly by the Sun itself (see PIA08329 for an example of this effect).

The "penumbra" is the narrow fringe region of the planet's shadow where part (but not all) of the Sun is visible around the side of the planet, creating only a partial shadow there and making the shadow edge look fuzzy.

The A and F rings are captured here. This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 20 degrees above the ringplane. Two faint ringlets can be seen within the Encke gap, which stretches out of the blackness at center and toward right.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 12, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.5 million kilometers (900,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 163 degrees. Image scale is about 9 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel.

Background Info:

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 .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Saturn Rings A Ring, Encke Gap, F Ring, Saturn
System Saturn
Target Type Ring Gap, Planet
Mission Cassini-Huygens
Instrument Host Cassini Orbiter
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
Detector Narrow Angle Camera
Extra Keywords Atmosphere, Grayscale, Shadow, Visual
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2006-10-27
Date in Caption
Image Credit NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA08297
Identifier PIA08297