CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

The Color of Darkness
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Sunlight filters through Saturn's rings in sepia tones in this artful view from Cassini of the dark side of the rings. Those rays from the sun directly reflected from the lit side of the rings onto the planet strike and illuminate the night-side southern hemisphere.

The densely populated B ring attenuates much of the Sun's light and thus looks quite dark.

Tethys (1,062 kilometers, 660 miles across) is a mere sliver below left.

Unprocessed wide-angle camera images taken in a high-phase viewing geometry generally contain stray light artifacts. These have largely been removed from this image by computer image processing.

Cassini was about 3 degrees above the ringplane when this image was obtained on Sept. 6, 2006. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were taken using the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera at a distance of approximately 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 154 degrees. Image scale is 106 kilometers (66 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.

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

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: October 6, 2006 (PIA 08282)
Image/Caption Information
  The Color of Darkness
PIA 08282

Avg Rating: 8.88/10

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Alliance Member Comments (Mar 1, 2007 at 6:57 PM):
So wonderful.
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Mar 1, 2007 at 3:57 PM):
What a great title: Night of the Million Moons. I like it. Though maybe it shoudl be Night of the Countless Moons ?
Red_dragon (Feb 25, 2007 at 5:35 AM):
"The Night of the Million Moons" is as I call this one.
Another pleasant view from Saturn by Cassini. Need to say more? :)

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