CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Night on Saturn

The night skies of Saturn are graced by the planet's dazzling rings, but as this image shows, one's view could be very different depending on the season and from which hemisphere one gazes up.

This point of view shows that the southern hemisphere is much brighter on the planet's night side than the northern hemisphere, owing to the brilliance of sunlight reflecting off the southern illuminated rings. The northern hemisphere sees only the ghostly glow of the dim scattered light that manages to penetrate the rings.

The planet's shadow eclipses the rings themselves in the lower half of this scene, but close inspection shows ringlets in the C ring silhouetted against the southern latitudes.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 25, 2006 at a distance of approximately 952,000 kilometers (592,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 124 degrees. Image scale is 53 kilometers (33 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 25, 2006 (PIA 08252)
Image/Caption Information
  Night on Saturn
PIA 08252

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Alliance Member Comments
Moonsister (Feb 16, 2007 at 7:36 PM):
Very 3D, lookas as if I really COULD go surfing on it. Good choice, zathira. Saw this kind of stuff in a movie with a name similar to yours, one of my favs. I'm there!
zathira (Jan 24, 2007 at 10:57 AM):
Hello hello... I love this picture because of the shadows and the light, Its beatiful. Greetings