This photo, taken in August by the Cassini orbiter, shows Saturn, Janus and Mimas as well as the planet's distinctive rings.
Saturn's moon Mimas appears near Saturn, dwarfed by its parent planet in this image. Mimas (246 miles, or 396 kilometers across) appears tiny compared to the storms clearly visible in far northern and southern hemispheres of Saturn. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 20, 2012.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has recently resumed the kind of orbits that allow for spectacular views of Saturn's rings. This image was obtained on May 23, 2012.
From the inside out, the "Cassini division" in faint red at left is followed by the A ring in its entirety in this ultraviolet-light image. The A ring begins with a "dirty" interior of red followed by more blue as it spreads away from the planet. The blue is a signature of water ice. The red band roughly three-fourths of the way outward in the A ring is known as the Encke gap.
Saturn's shadow stretches completely across the rings in this view, taken on Jan. 19, 2007 and released March 1. It's a natural-color view taken from about 764,000 miles (1.2 million kilometer) away.
The most detailed image ever made of Saturn and its rings was sent by the Cassini spacecraft on October 6, 2004.
Saturn's magnificent rings star in this donut-like view taken by the Cassini spacecraft. The planet itself has been removed from view, blotted out to highlight the intricate set of rings as Cassini passed over head at an elevation of about 60 degrees - the probe's highest yet vantage point of Saturn. This image is actually a compilation of 27 separate views - nine separate sets of red, green and blue components - taken over about 45 minutes and then assembled into a mosaic by scientists on Earth. It is one of several released March 1, 2007 by NASA, though the image group was taken in late January, 2007. Cassini used its wide-angle camera to photograph Saturn's rings from a distance of about one million miles (1.6 million kilometers). The moons Epimetheus (in the one o'clock position), Pandora (at five o'clock), and Janus (10 o'clock) are visible in this view.
Bright bands in the left part of the image are peaks of a density wave caused by gravitational stirring of the rings by the moon Janus. A smaller density wave in the right half of the image is produced by the moon Pandora. The observation was made by watching the light of a distant star flicker as the rings passed in front of it.
Saturn's icy rings shine in scattered sunlight in this view taken by the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 4, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (770,000 miles) from Saturn.
This false-color composite image, constructed from data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows Saturn's rings and southern hemisphere. The image was made from 65 individual observations by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer on Nov. 1, 2008.
Seen from our planet, the view of Saturn’s rings during its equinox is extremely foreshortened and limited. But in orbit around Saturn, Cassini had no such problems in Aug. 2009. In this mosaic of images taken on Aug. 12, the shadows of the planet's expansive rings are compressed into a single, narrow band cast onto the planet.
The shadow of Saturn's moon Mimas dips onto the planet's rings and straddles the Cassini Division in this natural color image taken as Saturn approaches its August 2009 equinox.
This mosaic of the Saturn system, taken by Cassini, glows with scattered light from tiny dust grains. The sun is obscured by the planet in this unusual geometry.
Details of Saturn's icy rings are visible in this sweeping view from Cassini of the planet's glorious ring system. The total span, from A ring to F ring, covers approximately 40,800 miles (65,700 km) and was photographed at Nov. 26, 2008.
The rings of Saturn.
Since Saturn's axis is tilted as it orbits the sun, Saturn has seasons, like those of planet Earth. The Hubble Space Telescope took the above sequence of images about a year apart. Starting on the left in 1996, just after the last time the rings were edge-on, and ending on the right in 2000 when the rings had opened up significantly from our point of view. Image
Saturn viewed by Cassini in images taken in July, 2008. Six moons complete this constructed panorama. Saturn's largest moon, Titan (5,150 kilometers, or 3,200 miles, across), Janus (179 kilometers, or 111 miles, across), Mimas (396 kilometers, or 246 miles, across), Pandora (81 kilometers, or 50 miles, across), Epimetheus (113 kilometers, or 70 miles, across) and Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles, across).
Gemini North infrared image of Saturn and Titan (at about 6 o'clock position), obtained on May 7, 2009.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft snapped this angled shot of Saturn, showing the southern reaches of the planet with the rings on a dramatic diagonal. Saturn's icy moon Enceladus is visible as a tiny white speck in the lower lefthand corner. The picture was taken on June 15, 2012, at a distance of about 1.8 million miles. [Full Story]
Shadows of Saturn's rings (right) fall across the planet at left.
Saturn seems to have a significant core of iron, carbon and other elements heavier than hydrogen.
Hubble Space Telescope images of Saturn and its polar auroral emissions on Jan. 24, 26, and 28 in 2004. The images combine ultraviolet images of the south polar region with visible wavelength images of the planet and rings. Credit Z. Levay and J. Clarke.
Composite image of Saturn shows the entire planet, including the rings as seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft from the south. The green glow represents aurora lights. Full Story.
Saturn on 25 March 2005. Image by Alan Friedman.
Saturn's northern hemisphere is seen here against its nested rings in this view from Cassini.
In this photo, snapped by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Jan. 5, 2012, Saturn's rings cast shadows on the huge planet. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is visible just below the rings, in the upper right of the picture.
Titan emerges from behind Saturn while Tethys streaks into view in this colorful scene on March 24, 2008. Titan is 5,150 kilometers (3,200 miles) wide; Tethys is 1,071 kilometers (665 miles) wide. Saturn's shadow darkens the far arm of the rings near the planet's limb.
Saturn and its rings.
A comparison of thermal infrared images of Saturn from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VISIR instrument) is shown, with an amateur visible-light view from Trevor Barry (Broken Hill, Australia) obtained on Jan. 19, 2011The images were obtained on Jan. 19, 2011, during the mature phase of the northern storm. The second image is taken at a wavelength that reveals the structures in Saturn's lower atmosphere, showing the churning storm clouds and the central cooler vortex. The third image is sensitive to much higher altitudes in Saturn's normally peaceful stratosphere.
Saturn and three moons, Tethys, Dione and Rhea, seen by a Voyager spacecraft on August 4, 1982, from a distance of 13 million miles.
These red, orange and green clouds (false color) in Saturn's northern hemisphere indicate the tail end of a massive storm that started in December 2010. Even after visible signs of the storm started to fade, infrared measurements continued to reveal powerful effects at work in Saturn's stratosphere.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 Rings enrobe crescent Saturn in this Cassini spacecraft image. Clouds swirl through the atmosphere of the planet, while barely-visible Prometheus orbits between the planet's main rings and its the thin F ring. Saturn's moon Prometheus appears very small above the rings near the middle of the image.
After months of searching, the Cassini orbiter circling Saturn has finally photographed the spokes in the planet's rings.
Vertical structures, among the tallest seen in Saturn's main rings, rise abruptly from the edge of Saturn's B ring to cast long shadows in this image, taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft two weeks before the planet's August 2009 equinox.
Clumpy particles in Saturn’s B-ring provide stark contrast to the delicately ordered ringlets seen in the rest of this view presented by the Cassini spacecraft. Image taken July 10, 2009.