CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Ice Spread Thin
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Saturn's incredible rings dwarf its moons in sheer scale. But all of their material, if compacted into a single body, would make a moon smaller than Enceladus, seen here next to the planet's banded globe.

Enceladus is 504 kilometers (313 miles) across; the rings would make a moon roughly the size of Mimas (396 kilometers, 246 miles across, not pictured). Their thinness is the key to their incredible scale.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 5 degrees below the ringplane.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Sept. 18, 2007 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 728 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 3.4 million kilometers (2.1 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 49 degrees. Image scale is 201 kilometers (125 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 25, 2007 (PIA 09757)
Image/Caption Information
  Ice Spread Thin
PIA 09757

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