Saturn's rings appear as only a thin line seen edge-on in the middle of this Cassini view, but the rings cast broad shadows on the southern hemisphere of the planet in the lower left of the image.
This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from just below the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 9, 2011 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 728 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 796,000 kilometers (494,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 147 degrees. Image scale is 44 kilometers (27 miles) per pixel.
The Cassini Solstice Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. 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 was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.