CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Cassini: the Profiler

Cassini continues to profile the haze structure and opacity in Saturn's upper atmosphere with images like this, which captures Rigel, a star in Orion whose brightness is well-known, as it passes behind the planet.

The extent to which the star's light is dimmed tells scientists about the sizes and amounts of the molecules and tiny particles that make up the atmospheric hazes.

The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 30, 2004 at a distance of approximately 446,000 kilometers (277,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 3 kilometers (2 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: August 8, 2006 (PIA 08238)
Image/Caption Information
  Cassini: the Profiler
PIA 08238

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