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Swirling cloud bands, delicate ring shadows and icy moons make the Saturn system a place of supreme natural beauty. Even Cassini’s remarkable images can only provide the slightest sense of the experience of actually being there.
Tethys (at the right, 1,071 kilometers, or 665 miles across) and Mimas (near the center, 397 kilometers, or 247 miles across) are captured here against the planet’s turbulent atmosphere.
Although the rings are only a thin strip from this angle, one can see the structure of the entire main ring system in its shadow on the planet – from the C ring at the bottom to the faint specter of the F ring at the top.
The image was taken in visible violet light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 16, 2005, at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (700,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 66 kilometers (41 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