Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2006 April 5
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Slightly Beneath Saturn's Ring Plane
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: When orbiting Saturn, be sure to watch for breathtaking superpositions of moons, rings, and shadows. One such picturesque vista was visible recently to the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn. In late February, Cassini captured a Rhea, the second largest moon of Saturn, while looking up from slightly beneath Saturn's expansive ring plane. Signature dark gaps are visible in the nearly-edge on rings. A shadow of Saturn's F ring cuts across the cratered ice-moon. Cassini is scheduled to continue sending back images from the orbit of Saturn until at least 2008.

Tomorrow's picture: slightly above Mars

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