Smudge of a Shadow
The shadow of the moon Mimas creates a smudge on the southern hemisphere of Saturn in this view from the Cassini spacecraft.
Mimas does not appear here, but it does cast its shadow on the planet in the lower left of the image. The shadows cast by the rings dominate the upper right of the image. This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 1 degree below the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 21, 2012 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 750 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.6 million miles (2.6 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 70 degrees. Image scale is 9 miles (15 kilometers) 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://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute