Image: The unilluminated side of Saturn's rings

April 30, 2014
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

(Phys.org) —Saturn's rings cast shadows on the planet, but the shadows appear to be inside out! The edge of Saturn's outermost A ring can be seen at the top left corner of the image. Moving towards the bottom of the page, one can see the faint Cassini Division, the opaque B ring and the innermost C ring, which contains several ringlets that appear dark against Saturn in this geometry. The bottom half of the image features the shadows of these rings in reverse order superposed against the disk of the planet: the C ring, the B ring, the Cassini Division and the inner half of the A ring.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 28 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 2, 2013, using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 57 degrees. Image scale is 45 miles (72 kilometers) 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.

Explore further: Space Image: Welcome disruption

Related Stories

Space Image: Welcome disruption

January 16, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- The line of Saturn's rings disrupts the Cassini spacecraft's view of the moons Tethys and Titan.

Space Image: Beside a giant

February 29, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Saturn's largest moon, Titan, looks small here, pictured to the right of the gas giant in this Cassini spacecraft view.

Image: Two moons passing in the night

August 1, 2013

(Phys.org) —The Saturn moons Mimas and Pandora remind us of how different they are when they appear together, as in this image taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Pandora's small size means that it lacks sufficient gravity ...

Image: Infrared image of Saturn's rings

January 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —Although it may look to our eyes like other images of the rings, this infrared image of Saturn's rings was taken with a special filter that will only admit light polarized in one direction. Scientists can use ...

Image: Saturn's rings and hexagonal polar storm

February 4, 2014

Just as Saturn's famous hexagonal shaped jet stream encircles the planet's north pole, the rings encircle the planet, as seen from Cassini's position high above. Around and around everything goes!

NASA image: God of the Gap

April 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —Saturn's moon Pan, named for the Greek god of shepherds, rules over quite a different domain: the Encke gap in Saturn's rings.

Recommended for you

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.