NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows Saturn's shadow cutting sharply across its rings as the orbits of ring particles carry them suddenly from day to night. With no atmosphere to scatter light, shadows in space are much darker than we're used to here on Earth.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 47 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 5, 2013.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 891,000 miles (1.434 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 85 degrees. Image scale is 51 miles (82 kilometers) 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.