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Two weeks after orbit insertion, Cassini glanced back at Saturn, taking in the entire planet and its expansive rings. Notable here is the bright spot located near the terminator in the planet's southern hemisphere.
The angle of illumination hints at Saturn's tilt relative to the Sun. Currently it is summer in Saturn's southern hemisphere.
The image was taken in visible red light with the wide angle camera on July 13, 2004, from a distance of about 5 million kilometers (3.1 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 95 degrees. The image scale is 299 kilometers (186 miles) per pixel. Contrast has been enhanced slightly to aid visibility.
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.