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The rings of Saturn glow softly as sunlight from below wends its way through. Some of the Sun’s light bounces off the rings’ opposite side and can be seen illuminating Saturn’s night side southern hemisphere.
Such a view is only possible from the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 33 degrees above the ringplane. Shadows of the innermost rings are cast upon the planet at upper left. The edge of Saturn’s shadow cuts a straight line across the rings near upper right.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 30, 2007 at a distance of approximately 1.9 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 117 kilometers (73 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