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Saturn’s rings throw imposing shadows and relegate parts of the planet’s northern regions to darkness. Three thin and bright arcs in this scene represent three well-known gaps in the immense ring system. From bottom to top here (and widest to thinnest) they are the Cassini Division, the Encke Gap and the Keeler Gap.
The image was taken in infrared light (752 nanometers) using the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 29, 2005, at a distance of approximately 446,000 kilometers (277,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 23 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel. The image was contrast enhanced to improve visibility of features in the atmosphere.
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 operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute