CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Bright Spokes

Cassini trades recent views of dark spokes in Saturn's B ring for the bright spokes seen here.

In the viewing geometry in which Cassini is looking approximately in the direction of the sun (called high phase), the spokes appear white against the rings because the very small particles comprising the spokes preferentially scatter light forward (in this case, toward Cassini). Dark spokes can be seen in images captured at low phase angles earlier in 2008, see PIA 11144.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 21 degrees below the ringplane and was obtained at a distance of approximately 563,000 kilometers (350,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 151 degrees.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 26, 2008. Image scale is 60 kilometers (37 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini Equinox 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.

For more information about the Cassini Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: January 29, 2009 (PIA 10567)
Image/Caption Information
  Bright Spokes
PIA 10567

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