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Like a rope of brilliant neon, Saturn’s rings outshine everything else in this night side view, while the sunlit southern face of the rings reflects a dim glow onto the atmosphere below. When viewed nearly edge-on, the rings often appear very bright.
Epimetheus (116 kilometers, or 72 miles across) and Janus (181 kilometers, or 113 miles across) are mere specks to the left of the ring edge, Epimetheus being the outermost of the pair.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 17, 2005, at a distance of approximately 2.7 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 75 degrees. The image scale is 164 kilometers (102 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 operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute