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Our robotic emissary, flying high above Saturn, captured this view of an alien copper-colored ring world. The overexposed planet has deliberately been removed to show the unlit rings alone, seen from an elevation of 60 degrees, the highest Cassini has yet attained.
The view is a mosaic of 27 images –nine separate sets of red, green and blue images– taken over the course of about 45 minutes, as Cassini scanned across the entire main ring system.
The planet’s shadow carves a dark swath across the ring plane at the right. The overexposed planet has been removed.
Moons visible in this image: Epimetheus (116 kilometers, or 72 miles across) at the 1 o’clock position, Pandora (84 kilometers, or 52 miles across) at the 5 o’clock position, Janus (181 kilometers, or 113 miles across) at the 10 o’clock position.
Bright clumps of material in the narrow F ring moved in their orbits between each of the color exposures, creating a chromatic misalignment that provides some sense of the continuous motion in the ring system.
Radially extending lens flare artifacts, which result from light being scattered within the camera optics, are present in the view.
The images in this natural-color view were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 21, 2007, at a distance of approximately 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 90 kilometers (56 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