CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Wider Shadow
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The shadow of Saturn's rings grows wider on the planet as the planet moves away from its August 2009 equinox when the rings cast a pencil-thin shadow.

See PIA11667 for a view of Saturn with only a narrow shadow cast by the rings.

Saturn is overexposed here in order to show the dim rings. Pandora been brightened by a factor of 1.3 relative to the planet and the rings to enhance its visibility. The image was taken using a compression scheme that decreases image file size for storage onboard the spacecraft, and thus the image appears slightly blocky, or "pixelated" following enhancement.

This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 7 degrees below the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on June 24, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.1 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 84 degrees. Image scale is 124 kilometers (77 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: July 27, 2010 (PIA 12685)
Image/Caption Information
  Wider Shadow
PIA 12685

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