In this image, dark regions represent areas where Cassini is seeing into deeper levels in Saturn's atmosphere. The dark regions are relatively free of high clouds and the light at these particular near-infrared wavelengths (centered at 727 nanometers) penetrates into the gaseous cloud-free atmosphere and is absorbed by methane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on May 15, 2004, from a distance of 24.7 million kilometers (15.4 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 147 kilometers (91 miles) per pixel. Contrast in the image was enhanced to aid visibility.
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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras, were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
For more information, about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit, http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.