CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Light and Dark Rings

Light and Dark Rings
PIA 06563

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  The sunlit face of Saturn's rings shows magnificent detail in this image taken in near infrared light. Most notable is the transition in brightness toward the outer edges of the image, due to differences in composition and ring particle density. The image was obtained from Cassini's vantage point beneath the ringplane.

The image was taken with the narrow angle camera on December 12, 2004, from a distance of 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Saturn through a broadband filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 862 nanometers. The image scale is about 11 kilometers (7 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: January 14, 2005 (PIA 06563)
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