CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Saturn Equinox Raw Preview #4

Saturn Equinox Raw Preview #4
Avg Rating: 9.12/10

Full Size 1024x1024:
  This raw, unprocessed image of Saturn's rings was taken by Cassini at equinox on Aug. 10, 2009.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 856,000 kilometers (532,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 158 degrees. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 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: August 12, 2009
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Aug 14, 2009 at 6:00 PM):
(Of course 'of Enceladus' , not 'or Enceladus'. Sorry for that.)
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Aug 14, 2009 at 5:58 PM):
With the sun shining exactly parallel to the ring plane I suppose any feature in the ring system being offset from this plane will appear brighter in this image because being hit by the sun's rays. The ring plane is believed to be only 30 feet thick. So the very bright ring at the left is many thicker than 30 feet. But the fact that it's appearing that bright is strange. ( As bright as if being lit by a neon tube of astronomical dimensions. ) So it could be a ring that is almost pure water ice - like the surface or Enceladus.
The concentric pattern in the middle and at the right could be caused by ( perhaps ) the individual thicknesses of those 'ringlets'.
At the lower right the darker feature could be a moon shadow.
Udanax (Aug 12, 2009 at 7:25 PM):
Is that the inner C ring ? The concentric pattern is gorgeous, either way !