CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Encroaching Darkness
[For trouble viewing the images/movies on this page, go here]
Saturn's south pole, seen here by Cassini, is in twilight as Saturn nears equinox (August 2009). Soon, the pole will enter its 15-year-long night.

This mosaic consists of four images that were digitally reprojected onto a computer model of Saturn, and aligned there, in order to account for the spacecraft's motion and the planet's rotation.

The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 18, 2008 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 728 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 869,000 kilometers (540,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 37 degrees. Mosaic scale is 49 kilometers (30 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: December 26, 2008 (PIA 10543)
Image/Caption Information
  Encroaching Darkness
PIA 10543

Avg Rating: 8.38/10

Full Size 1735x1732:
PNG 763 KB

Want to add a comment?   Login (for Alliance Members) ... or ... Join the CICLOPS Alliance!