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Cassini captured this arresting view of Saturn just before Epimetheus crossed into the blinding glare of the planet's sunlit crescent and was lost.
As it orbits Saturn, Epimetheus (113 kilometers, 70 miles across) hugs the outside edge of the narrow F ring, beyond the orbit of Pandora. The F ring is the brightest ring feature seen here. Saturn's southern hemisphere is softly lit by sunlight reflected off the rings.
A less obvious feature in this view is the planet's shadow, which begins to darken the inner regions of the rings at left.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 9, 2006 at a distance of approximately 4 million kilometers (2.5 million miles) from Epimetheus and 4.1 million kilometers (2.5 million miles) from Saturn. The Sun-Epimetheus-spacecraft, or phase, angle is 161 degrees. Image scale is 25 kilometers (16 miles) per pixel on 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 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.