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High above the streamers of cloud in Saturn’s atmosphere, the planet’s immense ring system begins with faint, thin rings populated with dust-sized ice particles. Here, features in the D ring are visible, beginning at about 67,000 kilometers (42,000 miles) from the planet’s center.
Stars trail across the background during this exposure, timed to capture the faint light from these D ring features.
This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 59 degrees above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 9, 2007 at a distance of approximately 1.7 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 10 kilometers (6 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