CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Sideswiping Saturn

Cassini pierced Saturn's ringplane on December 14, 2004, and swiped this sidelong glance at the planet and its magnificent rings. Saturn's tilt relative to the Sun throws dramatic shadows of the rings onto the planet's northern hemisphere. Details in Saturn's swirling atmosphere are also visible here.

This view looks down onto the unilluminated side of the rings - the rings are lit from below, and both dense and empty regions appear dark, while regions of intermediate particle density are bright.

The image was taken with the wide angle camera from a distance of approximately 654,000 kilometers (406,000 miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 728 nanometers. The image scale is 35 kilometers (22 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. 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-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: December 16, 2004 (PIA 06557)
Image/Caption Information
  Sideswiping Saturn
PIA 06557

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