NASA's Cassini spacecraft spies Mimas, positioned against the shadow of Saturn's rings, bright on dark. As we near summer in Saturn's northern hemisphere, the rings cast ever larger shadows on the planet.
Saturn appears to NASA's Cassini's cameras as a thin, sunlit crescent in this unearthly view. Citizens of Earth, being so much closer to the Sun than Saturn, never get to enjoy a view of Saturn like this without the aid of our robot envoys.
Seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft within the vast expanse of Saturn's rings, Prometheus appears as little more than a dot. But that little moon still manages to shape the F ring, confining it to its narrow domain.
The image on the left shows Cassini's view on approach to Phoebe, while the right shows the spacecraft's departing perspective. As it entered the Saturn system, NASA's Cassini spacecraft performed its first targeted flyby of one of the planet's moons.
Saturn's winds race furiously around the planet, blowing at high speeds which form distinct belts and zones which encircle the planet's pole, as well as its famous hexagon as seen in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft peers down though layers of haze to glimpse the lakes of Titan's northern regions. Titan has a hydrological cycle similar to Earth's, but instead of water, Titan's lakes and seas are filled with liquid methane and ethane.
Two pairs of moons make a rare joint appearance. The F ring's shepherd moons, Prometheus and Pandora, appear just inside and outside of the F ring (the thin faint ring furthest from Saturn) as seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
Among the interplay of Saturn's shadow and rings, Mimas, which appears in the lower-right corner of the image, orbits Saturn as a set of the ever-intriguing spokes appear in the B ring (to the right of center) in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
Winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere of Saturn and with this cold season has come the familiar blue hue that was present in the northern winter hemisphere at the start of NASA's Cassini mission.