Cassini captured this image of a dimly lit Titan as Saturn's largest moon was eclipsed by the planet.
This view looks up toward the south pole of Titan which lies on the terminator about a quarter of the way inward from the right of the visible disk. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing side of Titan (5150 kilometers, 3200 miles across). In Saturn's shadow, the southern hemisphere of Titan is lit by two sources: sunlight scattered through the planet's rings and refracted sunlight passing through the edge of Saturn's atmosphere. A similar view of an eclipse of another moon, Tethys, can be seen in PIA10443.
Stars in this image are smeared by the long camera exposure time of 560 seconds needed to capture the faint light on Titan. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May 7, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 667,000 kilometers (415,000 miles) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 58 degrees. Image scale is 40 kilometers (25 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.