CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Shadow and Shade

Shadow and Shade
PIA 08271

Avg Rating: 9.95/10

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  This moody true color portrait of Saturn shows a world that can, at times, seem as serene and peaceful as it is frigid and hostile. Saturn's unlit-side rings embrace the planet while their shadows caress the northern hemisphere.

Janus (179 kilometers, 111 miles across) is a mere speck below the rings, just left of the terminator. The view was obtained from about 15 degrees above the ringplane as Cassini continued its climb to higher orbital inclinations.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The image was acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 18, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.3 million kilometers (800,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 137 degrees. Image scale is 76 kilometers (47 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: September 18, 2006 (PIA 08271)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
KaNip (Jan 15, 2007 at 9:01 AM):
A beautiful picture.
Red_dragon (Dec 30, 2006 at 3:32 AM):
One of my greatest favorites. Just one question: isn't the upper part of the rings bent?.