CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Southern Shadows

Southern Shadows
PIA 12744

Avg Rating: 8.79/10

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  Shadows adorn Saturn in this Cassini view which also includes the moon Rhea.

Rhea (1528 kilometers, 949 miles across) is shown orbiting between the planet and the spacecraft and appears above the rings on the left of the image. As Saturn's northern hemisphere experiences spring, the rings now cast a shadow onto the southern hemisphere. The moon Mimas casts a small shadow on the planet south of shadows cast by the rings. The larger, elongated shadow farther south is cast by the moon Dione. Mimas and Dione are not shown.

This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 1 degree below the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 22, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.4 million kilometers (1.5 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 84 degrees. Image scale is 141 kilometers (88 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini Solstice 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 Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: December 13, 2010 (PIA 12744)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Dec 18, 2010 at 6:28 AM):
Superb image with so many shadows; it's fun to see how Saturn's happiness is becoming Saturn's sadness as the shadows of the rings are moving into southern hemisphere, perhaps because this is the final (and longest) part of the mission and Saturn will miss Cassini.

How are things going in Saturn?. Have the remaining bluish hues of northen hemisphere disappeared and are beginning to appear on southern hemisphere?