Beauty in the Universe
Surely one of the most spectacular sights the solar system has to offer, Saturn sits enveloped by the full splendor of its stately rings.
Taking in the rings in their entirety was the focus of this particular imaging sequence. Therefore, the camera exposure times were just right to capture the dark side of its rings, but longer than that required to properly expose the globe of sunlit Saturn. Consequently, the sunlit half of the planet is overexposed.
Between the blinding light of day and the dark of night, there is a strip of twilight on the globe where colorful details in the atmosphere can be seen. Bright clouds dot the bluish-grey northern polar region here. In the south, the planet's night side glows golden in reflected light from the rings' sunlit face.
Saturn's shadow stretches completely across the rings in this view, taken on Jan. 19, 2007, in this mosaic composed of 36 images taken over the course of about 2.5 hours.
The images in this natural-color view were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera at a distance of approximately 1.23 million kilometers (764,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 70 kilometers (44 miles) per pixel.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute