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Any doubts about the grandeur of Saturn’s rings will be dissolved by sweeping portraits like this one from Cassini. There is a magnificent level of detail visible in this view, which captures almost the entire ring system – from the thin, outer F ring to faint narrow features in the D ring, interior to the C ring. Along the ringplane, differences in brightness reveal the varying concentrations of the particles that comprise the rings.
Cassini is viewing the rings from below. The portion of the rings near the top of the image is closer to the spacecraft, and the portion near the bottom is farther away.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera on Oct. 29, 2004, at a distance of about 836,000 (519,000 miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 742 nanometers. The image scale is 46 kilometers (29 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