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After journeying a bit more than an hour across the Solar System, bright sunlight reflects off the gleaming icy cliffs in the wispy terrain of Dione and is captured by the Cassini spacecraft’s cameras several seconds later.
Saturn’s ringplane is here tilted slightly toward the Cassini spacecraft and is bisected by the planet’s dark shadow stretching across the rings.
This view looks toward the Saturn-facing hemisphere on Dione (1,126 kilometers, or 700 miles across).
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 3, 2005, at a distance of approximately 2.8 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 104 degrees. Resolution in the original image was 17 kilometers (11 miles) per pixel on Dione. The image has been magnified by a factor of two and contrast-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 operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute