CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Epimetheus Above the Rings

Although Epimetheus appears to be lurking above the rings here, it's actually just an illusion resulting from the viewing angle. In reality, Epimetheus and the rings both orbit in Saturn's equatorial plane.

Inner moons and rings orbit very near the equatorial plane of each of the four giant planets in our solar system, but more distant moons can have orbits wildly out of the equatorial plane. It has been theorized that the highly inclined orbits of the outer, distant moons are remnants of the random directions from which they approached the planets they orbit.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about -0.3 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 26, 2015.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 500,000 miles (800,000 kilometers) from Epimetheus and at a Sun-Epimetheus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 62 degrees. Image scale is 3 miles (5 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: November 9, 2015 (PIA 18342)
Image/Caption Information
  Epimetheus Above the Rings
PIA 18342

Avg Rating: 9.47/10

Full Size 1020x905: