Lines of Light

Saturn's backlit rings and limb seen by Cassini

The line of Saturn’s edge – or “limb” – glows brightly with backlit sunlight, as do its rings, in this wonderful image from Cassini, color-calibrated by Gordan Ugarkovic. Beige and blue colors can be seen in the layers of Saturn’s upper atmosphere, and the distant arc of the rings seem to sink into this before disappearing behind the planet. Meanwhile, in the foreground, the rings dive into Saturn’s shadow, their silhouettes cutting across the brightly-lit limb. The shadows of the rings at the far side of Saturn also cast their own shadows, darkening the atmosphere near the bottom of the image. That’s a lot to say about what’s happening here, but in a word it’s beautiful! Great work Gordan!

Click the image for a larger view of the original. Cassini captured this on February 13, 2010.

Image: NASA / JPL / SSI / Gordan Ugarkovic.

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