CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Colorful Saturn, Getting Closer
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Colorful Saturn, Getting Closer
PIA 06060

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  As Cassini coasts into the final month of its seven-year trek, the serene majesty of its destination looms ahead. The spacecraft's cameras are functioning beautifully and continue to return stunning views from Cassini's position, 1.2 billion kilometers (750 million miles) from Earth and now 15.7 million kilometers (9.8 million miles) from Saturn.

In this narrow angle camera image from May 21, 2004, the ringed planet displays subtle, multi-hued atmospheric bands, colored by yet undetermined compounds. Cassini mission scientists hope to determine the exact composition of this material.

This image also offers a preview of the detailed survey Cassini will conduct on the planet's dazzling rings. Slight differences in color denote both differences in ring particle composition and light scattering properties.

Images taken through blue, green and red filters were combined to create this natural color view. The image scale is 132 kilometers (82 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 Office of Space Science, 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: June 3, 2004 (PIA 06060)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Oct 11, 2008 at 3:47 PM):
Wow ! A fine, beautiful view of Saturn's southern hemisphere. Showing many hues of its principal color, which is 'Saturn Yellow'. You can see also in this image the multi-banded structure of its atmosphere. Generally the bands have got different colors.

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