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The unlit side of the rings glows with scattered sunlight as two moons circle giant Saturn. The light reaching Cassini in this view has traveled many paths before being captured.
At left, Mimas (397 kilometers, or 247 miles across) presents its dark side. Enceladus (505 kilometers, or 314 miles across), on the far side of the rings, is lit by “Saturnshine,” or reflected sunlight coming from the planet. Saturn, in turn, is faintly lit in the south by light reflecting off the rings.
Saturn’s shadow darkens the rings, tapering off toward the left side of this view.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 11, 2006 at a distance of approximately 3.9 million kilometers (2.5 million miles) from Mimas, 4.3 kilometers (2.7 million miles) from Enceladus and 4.1 million kilometers (2.6 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 25 kilometers (16 million miles) per pixel on Saturn.
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