PIA08850: The Vanishing Rings

The Vanishing Rings


Saturn's entire main ring system spreads out below Cassini in this night side view, which shows the rings disappearing into the planet's shadow.

This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 48 degrees above the ringplane. In the upper right corner lies the darkened northern hemisphere; beneath it, the lit side of the rings casts reflected sunlight, or ringshine, onto southern latitudes, lighting up the skies there. A sliver of light from Saturn's sunlit side pierces the top of the image.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 5, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (800,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 69 kilometers (43 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 Saturn, Sun
System Saturn
Target Type Ring Planet, Sun
Mission Cassini-Huygens
Instrument Host Cassini Orbiter
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
Detector Wide Angle Camera
Extra Keywords Grayscale, Shadow
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2007-01-09
Date in Caption 2006-12-05
Image Credit NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA08850
Identifier PIA08850