In this Cassini photograph, Saturn’s B and C rings pass behind the Ringed Planet. Right at the point where they meet Saturn’s upper atmosphere, they appear to bend slightly. This is caused by refraction, as the light from the rings is bent as it passes through the atmosphere. Cassini took this photo on August 16, 2006 when it was 256,000 kilometers (159,000 miles) from Saturn.
Saturn’s B and C rings disappear behind the immense planet. Where they meet the limb, the rings appear to bend slightly owing to upper-atmospheric refraction.
Crenulations — irregularly wavy or serrated features — in the planet’s clouds denote the locations of turbulent belt/zone boundaries.
The image was taken using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 728 nanometers. The view was obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 16, 2006 at a distance of approximately 256,000 kilometers (159,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 12 kilometers (7 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.
Original Source: NASA/JPL/SSI News Release