This monochrome view is the last image taken by the imaging cameras on NASA's Cassini spacecraft. It looks toward the planet's night side, lit by reflected light from the rings, and shows the location at which the spacecraft would enter the planet's atmosphere hours later.
A natural color view, created using images taken with red, green and blue spectral filters, is also provided (Figure B). The imaging cameras obtained this view at approximately the same time that Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer made its own observations of the impact area in the thermal infrared.
This location -- the site of Cassini's atmospheric entry -- was at this time on the night side of the planet, but would rotate into daylight by the time Cassini made its final dive into Saturn's upper atmosphere, ending its remarkable 13-year exploration of Saturn.
The view was acquired on Sept. 14, 2017 at 19:59 UTC (spacecraft event time). The view was taken in visible light using the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera at a distance of 394,000 miles (634,000 kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is about 11 miles (17 kilometers).
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.