CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Dazzling Color

Dazzling Color
PIA 07771

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  Cool and icy Dione floats in front of giant Saturn bedecked in a dazzling array of colors.

The surface of Dione (1,123 kilometers, 698 miles across), which exhibits contrasting bright and dark areas when viewed up close, appears pale in this image. It is Saturn's multi-hued cloud bands that boldly steal the show. Discrete clouds and eddies in Saturn's northern hemisphere can be seen within the faint shadows of the rings on the planet.

Cassini is in a phase of its mission in which its orbit will be nearly equatorial for some time. This view was obtained from about one-third of a degree out of the ringplane.

Images taken with red, green and blue filters were used to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the wide angle camera on September 22, 2005 from a distance of approximately 803,000 kilometers (499,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of about 43 degrees. The image scale is about 48 kilometers (30 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: December 22, 2005 (PIA 07771)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
enceladus5 (Feb 21, 2010 at 12:16 PM):
What a spectacular sight. No artist on Earth can come close to replicating such natural beauty as the Saturnian system.