Cassini watches as the shadows of Saturn's rings grow wider and creep farther south as the seasons progress from the planet's August 2009 equinox.
See PIA11667 to learn more about the changing seasons and to see a view from equinox when the rings cast only a thin shadow on Saturn's equator. See PIA09793 for an even earlier view of the rings' wide shadows draped high on the northern hemisphere.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 22, 2011 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 939 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 405,000 kilometers (252,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 140 degrees. Image scale is 21 kilometers (13 miles) per pixel.
The Cassini Solstice 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.