Like a thin thread strung perpendicular to the crescent of the planet, Saturn's rings are seen edge-on by Cassini.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 8, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 140 degrees. Image scale is 79 kilometers (49 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.