Both luminous and translucent, the C ring sweeps out of the darkness of Saturn's shadow and obscures the planet at lower left. The ring is characterized by broad, isolated bright areas, or "plateaus," surrounded by fainter material.
This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 19 degrees above the ringplane. North on Saturn is up. The dark, inner B ring is seen at lower right.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 15, 2006 at a distance of approximately 632,000 kilometers (393,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 56 degrees. Image scale is 34 kilometers (21 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.