A planet, its rings and three moons – a postcard from Cassini

On 13 Marsh, 2006, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took this edge-on view of Saturn’s rings, capturing the moon Mimas above the ring plane, illuminated both by the sun and by “saturnshine,” the tiny moon Janus just above the rings and larger Tethys below. Cassini took the photo from a distance of about 2.7 million kilometres (1.7 million miles), combining red, green and blue spectral filters to produce a natural colour view. Cassini’s mission ended 15 September, 2017, when the spacecraft, virtually out of propellant after its long, successful mission, was directed to plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured this stunning edge-on view of Saturn’s rings, three of the planet’s moons and the shadow cast by the rings on the planet’s cloud tops. (Image: NASA