CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Gleaming Rings

Like a rope of brilliant neon, Saturn's rings outshine everything else in this night side view, while the sunlit southern face of the rings reflects a dim glow onto the atmosphere below. When viewed nearly edge-on, the rings often appear very bright.

Epimetheus (113 kilometers, 70 miles across) and Janus (179 kilometers, 111 miles across) are mere specks to the left of the ring edge, Epimetheus being the outermost of the pair.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 17, 2005, at a distance of approximately 2.7 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 75 degrees. The image scale is 164 kilometers (102 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 18, 2006 (PIA 07678)
Image/Caption Information
  Gleaming Rings
PIA 07678

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