Saturn's moon Enceladus brightly reflects sunlight before a backdrop of the planet's rings and the rings' shadows cast onto the planet.
The Cassini spacecraft captured this snapshot during its flyby of the moon on Nov. 30, 2010. This view looks toward the anti-Saturn side of Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles across). North on Enceladus is up and rotated 28 degrees to the right.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from less than a degree above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 53,000 kilometers (33,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 14 degrees. Image scale is 3 kilometers (2 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 mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Image addition date: 2011-01-03