CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Out of Darkness
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Saturn's rings burst out of shadow and curve gracefully around the planet.

Prometheus (86 kilometers, 53 miles across) appears as a bright speck touching the inside of the narrow F ring. Atlas (30 kilometers, 19 miles across) is also visible, faintly, upward and to the left of Prometheus, just outside the A ring edge.

Saturn's shadow cuts across the rings at top right. Several dark, narrow spokes are faintly visible near the B-ring ansa, left of center.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 13 degrees above the ringplane.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 4, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (775,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 71 kilometers (44 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini Equinox Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. 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 Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: August 25, 2008 (PIA 10454)
Image/Caption Information
  Out of Darkness
PIA 10454

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Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Aug 25, 2008 at 9:33 AM):
You couldn't say it better. A graceful and colourful curve around Saturn.

Lastly, most -if not all ring images- have shown its dark side; it would be interesting to see a recent one of the illuminated side of the rings.