CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Seconds from Dione
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After journeying a bit more than an hour across the Solar System, bright sunlight reflects off the gleaming icy cliffs in the wispy terrain of Dione (1,123 kilometers, 698 miles across) and is captured by Cassini's cameras several seconds later.

Saturn's ringplane is here tilted slightly toward Cassini, and is bisected by the planet's dark shadow stretching across the rings.

This view looks toward the Saturn-facing hemisphere on Dione.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 3, 2005, at a distance of approximately 2.8 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 104 degrees. Resolution in the original image was 17 kilometers (11 miles) per pixel on Dione. The image has been magnified by a factor of two and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.

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 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: January 5, 2006 (PIA 07668)
Image/Caption Information
  Seconds from Dione
PIA 07668

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