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As if drawn by an artist, this sublime scene speaks of the powerful beauty in the outer solar system: the domain of giant planets encircled by rings and orbited by small cratered moons of ice. In this view, Dione (1,118 kilometers, or 695 miles across, on the left) and Enceladus (505 kilometers, or 314 miles across, on the right) orbit the mighty ringed planet Saturn, while two bright storms swirl in the atmosphere below. This vantage point shows that the deceptively expansive rings are actually paper-thin in comparison–only tens of meters thick.
The image was taken in visible blue light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Feb. 28, 2005, at a distance of approximately 2.6 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 154 kilometers (96 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 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