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A Light Year

The probes that have visited Saturn have captured some
great images.

Saturn Images
Click to see an annotated image of Saturn's Rings
Saturn Half

The Cassini spacecraft looks toward the sunlit face of Saturn's rings, whose shadows continue to slide southward on the planet toward their temporary disappearance during equinox in August 2009.

This two-frame color mosaic was created from images taken as part of a photometry observation of the rings. Photometry observations are useful for determining a host of ring particle properties.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 3 degrees below the ringplane. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 22, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (728,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 66 kilometers (41 miles) per pixel.


As Saturn advances in its orbit toward equinox and the sun gradually moves northward on the planet, the motion of Saturn's ring shadows and the changing colors of its atmosphere continue to transform the face of Saturn as seen by Cassini.

This captivating natural color view was created from images collected shortly after Cassini began its extended Equinox Mission in July 2008. It can be contrasted with earlier images from the spacecraft's four-year prime mission that show the shadow of Saturn's rings first draped high over the planet's northern hemisphere, then shifting southward as northern summer changed to spring (see Serenity of Saturn and Sliding Shadows ). During this time, the colors of the northern hemisphere have evolved from azure blue to a multitude of muted-colored bands.


Against a background of muted atmospheric bands in Saturn's northern hemisphere, Mimas forges onward in its orbit around the Ringed Planet.

Aside from the large crater Herschel (139 kilometers, or 87 miles across), all features on Mimas are named after people and places in Arthurian legend or the legends of the Titans. In fact, the largest crater near the terminator in this view is named Arthur (64 kilometers, or 40 miles across).


The shadow of Tethys drifts across the face of Saturn. Nearby, shadows of the planet's rings form a darkened band above the equator. This view looks toward Saturn from a vantage point 63 degrees north of the equator.

The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 1, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 615,000 kilometers (382,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 37 kilometers (23 miles) per pixel.




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