Saturn’s rings display their subtle colors in this view captured on Aug. 22, 2009, by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The particles that make up the rings range in size from smaller than a grain of sand to as large as mountains, and are mostly made of water ice. The exact nature of the material responsible for bestowing color on the rings remains a matter of intense debate among scientists.
Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. Cassini's narrow-angle camera took the images at a distance of approximately 1.27 million miles (2.05 million kilometers) from the center of the rings.
The Cassini spacecraft ended its mission on Sept. 15, 2017.
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.