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This moody portrait of Saturn captures a razor-thin ringplane bisecting the clouds of the bright equatorial region. The rings cast dark, shadowy bands onto the planet's northern latitudes.
At left, Dione (1,123 kilometers, 698 miles across) is a tiny sunlit orb against the planet's dark side.
The image was taken in polarized infrared light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 7, 2005 at a distance of approximately 3.1 million kilometers (1.9 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 96 degrees. Image scale is 179 kilometers (111 miles) 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 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.