Resembling a thin ribbon wrapped around the crescent of the planet, Saturn's rings are seen edge-on by the Cassini spacecraft.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 8, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 140 degrees. Image scale is 79 kilometers (49 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/. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.