CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Cool Shadow

The shadow of Saturn cuts across the rings in this recent Cassini image. As the ring particles enter Saturn's shadow, their temperature drops to even colder temperatures, only to warm back up again when they re-emerge into the sunlight. Ring scientists think that these temperature swings may help change the physical properties of the ring particles.

Eight stars are visible in this image, including one through the rings.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 56 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible violet light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 29, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 639,000 miles (1.0 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 128 degrees. Image scale is 4 miles (6 kilometers) 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-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: October 7, 2013 (PIA 17137)
Image/Caption Information
  Cool Shadow
PIA 17137

Avg Rating: 9.33/10

Full Size 1016x1016:
PNG 186 KB

Alliance Member Comments
blbnnn (Oct 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM):
Wow! All the images on this site are incredible and I always love seeing the contrast of the rings against the background of space. But with that imposing shadow and the stars, this one is particularly impressive to me! Wow (again)!