CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Splinter of Light

Splinter of Light
PIA 09912

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  A sliver of "ringshine" pierces the darkness of Saturn's night side.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 58 degrees above the ringplane.

The ring shadows fall into darkness beyond the terminator in the north. South of the equator, a dim glow brightens the darkened globe. This light, called ringshine, comes from sunlight reflected off the sunward side of the expansive rings (the opposite face of the ringplane from this perspective). The effect is pronounced in the eclipse view PIA08329.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on April 19, 2008. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 851,000 kilometers (529,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 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: May 29, 2008 (PIA 09912)
Image/Caption Information