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

Cassini looks toward the sunlit face of Saturn's rings, whose shadows continue to slide southward on the planet toward their temporary disappearance during equinox in Aug. 2009.

This two-frame color mosaic was created from images taken as part of a photometry observation of the rings. Photometry observations are useful for determining a host of ring particle properties.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 3 degrees below the ringplane.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 22, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (728,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 66 kilometers (41 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini Equinox Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. 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 Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: October 17, 2008 (PIA 10493)
Image/Caption Information
  Eyes on the Rings
PIA 10493

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Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Oct 20, 2008 at 8:48 AM):
As a side note, it seems for me the now fading blue hues could be caused by chemical processes. Perhaps as temperature diminishes due to the shadow of the rings being projected over Saturn's northern hemisphere methane condensates as occurs in Uranus and Neptune thus taking the same blue can be seen in Neptune. As spring is closing and temperature rises again when the shadows of the rings recedes, methane condensates disappear and the classical salmon hues return to Saturn's northern hemisphere.
It's just an idea that surely has been suggested before, but just wanted to comment it.
rulesfor (Oct 18, 2008 at 4:16 PM):
Awesome picture.
I wanted to share this cool Saturn shirt I saw on the Bad Astronomy blog. Check it out:
Red_dragon (Oct 17, 2008 at 2:21 PM):
Amazing, as most color pics; Saturn starts to resemble the one imaged by Voyagers.