CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Wish Upon a Star

Wish Upon a Star
PIA 18297

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  What's that bright point of light in the outer A ring? It's a star, bright enough to be visible through ring! Quick, make a wish!

This star - seen in the lower right quadrant of the image - was not captured by coincidence, it was part of a stellar occultation. By monitoring the brightness of stars as they pass behind the rings, scientists using this powerful observation technique can inspect detailed structures within the rings and how they vary with location.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 44 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 8, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers) from the rings and at a Sun-Rings-Spacecraft, or phase, angle of 96 degrees. Image scale is 6.8 miles (11 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: January 5, 2015 (PIA 18297)
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