PIA10576: Shrinking Shadow

Shrinking Shadow


The rings cast a dramatic but narrow shadow on the planet in this view on the sunlit side of the rings from just one degree below the ringplane.

The rings' shadows have grown narrower on the globe of the planet as it approaches its August 2009 equinox, when the sun will be aligned with the planet's equator.

Three large storms spin through the atmosphere of the southern hemisphere, but many smaller storms and fine details can be seen as well.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 31, 2008 using a combination of polarized and near-infrared filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (754,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 26 degrees. Image scale is 68 kilometers (42 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/ . 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 Atmosphere, Grayscale, Infrared, Shadow, Storm
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2009-02-11
Date in Caption 2008-12-31
Image Credit NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA10576
Identifier PIA10576