Like black and white photos of earthly family and friends, monochrome images of Saturn can also capture their subject with crisp poignancy. This infrared view from high above Saturn's ringplane highlights the contrast in the cloud bands, the dimly glowing rings and their shadows on the gas giant planet. The overall effect is stirring.
This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 48 degrees above the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of polarized infrared light. The view was obtained on Feb. 12, 2007 at a distance of approximately 1.7 million kilometers (1 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 144 degrees. Image scale is 191 kilometers (119 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://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.