PIA08305: Bright in the Night

 Bright in the Night

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The bright ringlets seen here are populated with microscopic icy particles and are among the brightest features in the rings at high phase angles.

The twisted core of the F ring, at left, is flanked by three fainter ringlets which are, in fact, part of a separate continuous structure that spirals around the planet. Right of center, in the Encke Gap, are three tortured-looking ringlets.

This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 12 degrees above the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 7, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.9 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 163 degrees. Image scale is about 11 kilometers (7 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at ciclops.org.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Source: NASA’s Planetary Photojournal: Image No. PIA08305