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Saturn’s moon Pandora casts its shadow upon the F ring. Moon shadows upon the rings will become an increasingly common sight for Cassini as equinox approaches and the Sun moves northward through the ringplane.
This observation was optimized to show faint details in the F ring, leaving Pandora (81 kilometers, 50 miles across at its widest point) overexposed.
The view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 37 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 17, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 864,000 kilometers (537,000 miles) from Pandora and at a Sun-Pandora-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 48 degrees. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 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