With Saturn angled such that its ring plane is aligned with Earth’s orbit, its rings appear as a thin band and several of its moons can be seen crossing its face in this photo, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope on February 24, 2009.
The smaller moons closer to the rings are, left to right, Enceladus, Dione and Mimas. Titan, further from Saturn and higher up in the photo, casts its hazy shadow on the northern polar region. Its smaller sisters cast their own shadows as well in another photo from this series….click image at left for a larger view.
While not a true “planetary explorer”, the orbiting Hubble Telescope can capture amazing photos of the planets when positioning is right; it can resolve details on Saturn as small as 190 miles across, even from 775 million miles away.
Image credit: NASA/ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScl/AURA)