Pan Speeds into Darkness

The unlit side of the rings, the small moon Pan heads into Saturn's shadow
December 19, 2006
PIA NumberPIA08826
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The Cassini spacecraft looks down at the unlit side of the rings as Pan heads into Saturn's shadow. The moon is accompanied by faint ringlets in the Encke Gap.

At bottom, the bright F ring core fades slowly into darkness.

This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 20 degrees above the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 15, 2006. Cassini was then at a distance of approximately 1.7 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 163 degrees. Image scale is 10 kilometers (6 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute