Cassini captured Dione against the globe of Saturn as it approached the icy moon for its close rendezvous on December 14, 2004. This natural color view shows the moon to have strong variations in brightness across its surface, but a remarkable lack of color, compared to the warm hues of Saturn's atmosphere. Several oval-shaped storms are present in the planet's atmosphere, along with ripples and waves in the cloud bands.
Images taken with red, green and blue filters were used to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the wide angle camera from a distance of approximately 603,000 kilometers (375,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle is 34 degrees. The image scale is about 32 kilometers (20 miles) per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. 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.