CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Glorious View

Rays of light from the sun have taken many different paths to compose this glorious image of Saturn and its rings.

This view looks toward the unilluminated (north) side of the rings and, at the top of the image, the night side of Saturn. Sunlight has been reflected off the illuminated side of the rings to light the planet's southern hemisphere, seen here as a bright band of yellow-orange. The northern hemisphere, in the top left corner of the image, is dimly lit by light diffusely scattered through the rings. The planet's shadow cuts across the rings, but light reflected off the southern hemisphere backlights parts of the C ring, making them visible in silhouette. A similar lighting arrangement can be seen in PIA 10476.

Bright points of light in the image are stars occulted by the rings.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 41 degrees above 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 March 20, 2009 at a distance of approximately 892,000 kilometers (555,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 50 kilometers (31 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: May 15, 2009 (PIA 11493)
Image/Caption Information
  Glorious View
PIA 11493

Avg Rating: 8.92/10

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Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (May 24, 2009 at 11:36 AM):
Great Image. Interesting image.

( NeKto: A proposal: "Great Saturnian" , "amazingly Saturnian" .
NeKto (May 19, 2009 at 10:46 AM):
for years the images comming from Cassini have stimulated the over use of the responce "WOW!" wheneve i've checked in here.
"Superbly beautiful" is as good as the words get. but i have been finding the words inadequate for quite some time. this is another image where i find myself awe struck by the compelling artistry of the image and at the same time overwelmed by the intelectual stimulus of the science. all while the image itself teaches me things about gravity, orbital mechanics, ring dynamics and Saturn itself, just by looking at it.
i want a new verb to describe this. largely because, once again, i come to this web site and find myself "Cassinied" or maybe i've been "ciclopsed."
thanks again everyone on the team.
(p.s. haven't been able to get to the Trek movie yet.)
mipsandbips (May 15, 2009 at 6:56 PM):
A very beautiful sight to see!
Saturn's shadow cast on the rings making them seem to disappear,
yet the silhouette appears against the reflected light as a reminder
to us that they are still there. A wonderful image in counterpoint!
carolyn (CICLOPS) (May 15, 2009 at 2:21 PM):
Red_dragon: I quite agree!
Red_dragon (May 15, 2009 at 6:13 AM):
Superbly beautiful and even quite unreal. Thank you very much for that great image, CICLOPS; I tip my hat to you.