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Cassini catches Janus joining other Saturnian moons in the equinox shadow-casting party.
As Saturn approaches its August 2009 equinox, the planet's moons cast shadows onto the rings. To learn more about this special time and to see a movie of a moon's shadow moving across the rings, see PIA11651. Janus (179 kilometers, 111 miles across) is not visible, but its shadow stretches across Saturn's A and F rings. Three background stars are visible in the image.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 21 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 10, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 965,000 kilometers (599,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 46 degrees. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 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.