CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Rainbow on the Rings

Rainbow on the Rings
PIA 08393

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  The opposition effect, a brightness surge that is visible on Saturn's rings when the Sun is directly behind the spacecraft, is captured here as a colorful halo of light moving across Saturn's sunlit rings.

The rainbow of color seen here is actually an artifact and a by-product of the spot's movement and the way the color image was produced. Cassini acquires color images by taking sequential exposures using red, green and blue spectral filters, which are then composited together to form a color view. The bright patch traveled across the rings between exposures taken for this view, creating a series of three colorful spots showing its position at three separate moments.

See PIA08247 for more information about the opposition effect. PIA08267 shows a movie sequence of the bright spot traveling across the rings.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 9 degrees below the ringplane.

The images in this view were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on June 12, 2007 at a distance of approximately 523,000 kilometers (325,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 31 kilometers (19 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: October 15, 2007 (PIA 08393)
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