CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Golden Night on Saturn

Saturn's B and C rings shine in a diffuse, scattered light as Cassini looks on the planet's night side. The southern hemisphere is lit by sunlight reflecting off of the rings, while the north shines much more feebly in the dim light that filters through the rings and is scattered on the northern hemisphere.

The fine, innermost rings are seen silhouetted against the planet before disappearing into shadow.

The color of the rings appears more golden because of the increased scattering in the rings brought about by the high phase angle and the view being toward rings' the unlit side. Saturn also looks more golden because of the high phase angle here.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained by the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Sept. 28, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (900,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 151 degrees. Image scale is 83 kilometers (51 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: November 7, 2006 (PIA 08304)
Image/Caption Information
  Golden Night on Saturn
PIA 08304

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Alliance Member Comments
I am Borg (Nov 25, 2007 at 1:59 PM):
Astonishing in it's brillance and clarity.
jeandiver (Mar 1, 2007 at 8:17 PM):
The soft colors here are just spectacular!