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Saturn’s icy rings shine in scattered sunlight in this view, which looks toward the unilluminated northern side of the rings from about 15 degrees above the ringplane.
The Sun currently illuminates the rings from the south. Some of the sunlight not reflected from the rings’ southern face is scattered through the countless particles, setting the rings aglow.
The inner F-ring shepherd moon Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across at its widest point) appears at lower left.
Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. Bright clumps of material in the narrow F ring moved in their orbits between each of the color exposures, creating a chromatic misalignment in several places that provides some sense of the continuous motion within the ring system.
The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 4, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (770,000 miles) from Saturn. The Sun-ring-spacecraft, or phase, angle was 28 degrees. Image scale is 70 kilometers (44 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