The Dark Side of the B and C Rings

The Dark Side of the B and C Rings

Full-Res GIF (104 kB)

Caption:

This image is very similar to the one above, but the point of view is shifted inward to show the B and C Rings. The C Ring is optically thin so sunlight scatters through it easily, making it brighter than the B Ring in this lighting geometry. Viewing the ring’s unlit face, something can appear dark for one of two reasons, either because it is nearly opaque (like the B Ring at left) or because it is almost completely transparent (like the region inside the C Ring at right). In the former case there is too much material for light to leak through, whereas in the latter case there is no material to scatter the light. Enhanced false color has been used to show subtle color variations in the rings.