CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Saturnian Dawn
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NASA's Cassini spacecraft peers toward a sliver of Saturn's sunlit atmosphere while the icy rings stretch across the foreground as a dark band.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 7 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 31, 2017.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 620,000 miles (1 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 38 miles (61 kilometers) 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.

For more information about the Cassini Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: June 26, 2017 (PIA 21334)
Image/Caption Information
  Saturnian Dawn
PIA 21334

Avg Rating: 9.81/10

Figure A 1020x1020:
PNG 288 KB


Saturnian Dawn
PIA 21334

Avg Rating: 9.53/10

Figure B Stretched 1020x1020:
PNG 332 KB

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Jun 28, 2017 at 7:18 AM):
whenever i see a back lit view of Saturn, i wonder how thick the apparently clear section of atmosphere is. how many miles between what looks like the top edge and what we see as cloud tops.
What is the atmospheric pressure where the clouds begin? how many kilometers tall are the cloud walls we see at the polar vortexes? what is the vertical scale of those structures we see?
whatever the answers, i am glad Cassini is there with the cameras to take the pictures.
the images continue to be mind boggling.

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