This dramatic view of Saturn's rings, draped by the shadow of Saturn, shows brightness variations that correspond to differences in the concentration of the constituent ring particles as they orbit the planet.
The planet's western limb is visible in the upper right corner.Three of Saturn's moons can be seen here: Bright Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across) is visible near lower right; Epimetheus (113 kilometers, 70 miles across) appears at center left; and interior to the F ring, near top of the image, is Prometheus (86 kilometers, 53 miles across). The F ring itself displays several knot-like features near its ansa.
The image was taken in visible light with the wide angle camera on July 3, 2004, from a distance of 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of about 108 degrees. This is the first processed wide angle camera image to be released since Cassini's encounter with Jupiter in 2000. The image scale is 87 kilometers (54 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.