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The dim, unlit side of Saturn’s rings hides a secret in this view. Shy Mimas (397 kilometers, or 247 miles across) can be seen peeking out from behind the rings below center.
The bright features in this scene, including the F ring along the rings’ periphery, are regions where tiny, dust-sized particles scatter light toward the camera. This phenomenon is often seen at high phase angles – that is, Sun-ring-spacecraft angles – approaching 180 degrees.
The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 3, 2006 at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Mimas and phase angle of 161 degrees. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 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