Strings of Shadowy Rings Drape Saturn

Sep 17, 2004
Strings of Shadowy Rings Drape Saturn

Saturn's ring shadows appear wrapped in a harmonious symphony with the planet in this color view from the Cassini spacecraft.

Saturn and its rings would nearly fill the space between Earth and the Moon. Yet, despite their great breadth, the rings are a few meters thick and, in some places, very translucent. This image shows a view through the C ring, which is closest to Saturn, and through the Cassini division, the 4,800-kilometer-wide gap (2,980-miles) that arcs across the top of the image and separates the optically thick B ring from the A ring. The part of the atmosphere seen through the gap appears darker and more bluish due to scattering at blue wavelengths by the cloud-free upper atmosphere.

The different colors in Saturn's atmosphere are due to particles whose composition is yet to be determined. This image was obtained with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on July 30, 2004, at a distance of 7.6 million kilometers (4.7 million miles) from Saturn.

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 Cassini-Huygens 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Researchers discover low-grade nonwoven cotton picks up 50 times own weight of oil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ringed planet dances in raw Cassini images

Jul 08, 2014

We space people are very lucky to get glimpses of Saturn (and other planets!) regularly through the raw images feature on a few spacecraft websites. This allows anyone to get a hold of the pictures as they ...

Image: Saturn's shadows

Jul 01, 2014

It may seem odd to think of planets casting shadows out in the inky blackness of space, but it is a common phenomenon. Earth's shadow obscures the Moon during a lunar eclipse, and Jupiter's moons cast small ...

Cassini celebrates 10 years exploring Saturn

Jun 26, 2014

It has been a decade since a robotic traveler from Earth first soared over rings of ice and fired its engine to fall forever into the embrace of Saturn. On June 30, the Cassini mission will celebrate 10 years ...

Saturn's moon Atlas shines between gas giant's rings

Jun 18, 2014

See that small pixel? That's an entire moon you're looking at! Peeking between the rings of Saturn is the tiny saucer-shaped moon Atlas, as viewed from the Cassini spacecraft. The image is pretty, but there's ...

Plastic, 'wrong-way' dunes arise on Saturn moon Titan

May 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —The dunes of Titan tell cosmic tales. A Cornell senior and researchers have narrowed theories on why the hydrocarbon dunes – think plastic – on Saturn's largest moon are oriented in an unexpected ...

Image: The unilluminated side of Saturn's rings

Apr 30, 2014

(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 ...

Recommended for you

Fermi satellite detects gamma-rays from exploding novae

3 hours ago

The Universe is home to a variety of exotic objects and beautiful phenomena, some of which can generate almost inconceivable amounts of energy. ASU Regents' Professor Sumner Starrfield is part of a team that ...

Exploring Mars in low Earth orbit

8 hours ago

In their quest to understand life's potential beyond Earth, astrobiologists study how organisms might survive in numerous environments, from the surface of Mars to the ice-covered oceans of Jupiter's moon, ...

Image: Hubble serves a slice of stars

10 hours ago

The thin, glowing streak slicing across this image cuts a lonely figure, with only a few foreground stars and galaxies in the distant background for company.

User comments : 0