CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
The Golden Giant

The Golden Giant
PIA 08213

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  Cassini takes in a wide-angle view of majestic, golden-hued Saturn ... home to our robotic spacecraft for two years now. The ringplane cuts across the center of Saturn's crescent which wears shadows cast by the icy rings.

The planet's now familiar blue and pink hues generally are more subtle in high-phase views from Cassini wide-angle camera. "Phase" refers to the angle formed between the Sun, the planet and the spacecraft.

The view is a composite of two sets of color images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters. The images were combined to create a color view that approximates the scene as it might appear to human eyes.

The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May 24, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.3 million kilometers (824,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 139 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: July 4, 2006 (PIA 08213)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Dec 30, 2006 at 3:41 AM):
I must admit those pictures of a crescent Saturn are my favourite ones. Whitout doubt, this one is one of the best, more than worthwile of a good sci-fi history.