The ringed planet wears a broad grin in this image from Cassini, as the icy rings cast long, sweeping shadows across the northern hemisphere. Fantastic details are visible in the bright and dark of the gas giant's many cloud bands, and the thin rings slice the scene in two.
The image was taken with the wide angle camera on February 27, 2005, from a distance of approximately 2.7 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 727 nanometers where gaseous methane absorbs. The image scale is 156 kilometers (97 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.