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A frigid ball of gas in the blackness of space, Cassini’s new home, Saturn, appears cool and serene in this natural color image. The spacecraft obtained this view as it sped outward from the planet on its initial orbit. At the left, Saturn’s shadow stretches almost completely across the rings, while at the right, the planet’s illuminated face appears to gaze down at the far-off Sun.
Images taken through blue, green and red filters with the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera were combined to create this view. The images were taken on July 17, 2004, from a distance of about 5.8 million kilometers (3.6 million miles) from Saturn. The Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase angle of the image is 93 degrees. The image scale is 346 kilometers (215 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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras, were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute