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Now, in southern summer, Saturn’s shadow stretches across the sunlit southern surface of its rings. Saturn’s moon Janus orbits just outside of the main rings and appears below them in this scene. Janus is absolutely dwarfed by the bulk of its gigantic parent. Janus is 181 kilometers (113 miles) across.
Bands of ring material within the Cassini Division are visible here, near the outer edge of the bright B ring. The planet’s night side is visible at the right. This view is from Cassini’s vantage point beneath the ring plane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera on Jan. 17, 2005, at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 66 kilometers (41 miles) per pixel. Janus was brightened by a factor of two, and contrast in the scene was enhanced to aid visibility.
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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute