CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Daybreak from Above

Daybreak from Above
PIA 11464

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  Day breaks on the northern hemisphere of Saturn in this image from Cassini.

The D ring is hidden below the horizon, but, working outward from the planet, this image shows the C, B, A and F rings. The moon Prometheus (86 kilometers, 53 miles across) is a faint speck inside the thin F ring in the upper left of the image.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 39 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 20, 2009 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 853 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 888,000 kilometers (552,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 121 degrees. 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: April 6, 2009 (PIA 11464)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (May 3, 2009 at 7:12 PM):
Side note: At the very lower left of this image one sees of the circular belts in the north polar area that the planet is very close to equinox.