Mimas and blue Saturn

Mimas and Saturn in cool blue

Mimas drifts along in its orbit against the blue backdrop of Saturn's northern latitudes in this true colour view taken by the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini spacecraft.

Saturn's northern hemisphere is seen here as relatively cloud-free, and rays of sunlight take a long path through the atmosphere. This results in sunlight being scattered at shorter (bluer) wavelengths, giving the northernmost latitudes their bluish appearance at visible wavelengths.

The long, dark lines on the atmosphere are shadows cast by the planet's rings. At the bottom, craters on icy Mimas (398 kilometres across) give the moon a dimpled appearance.

Images taken in infrared, green and ultraviolet spectral filters were combined and adjusted to match closely what the scene would look like in natural colour.

The images were obtained using the Cassini narrow-angle camera on 18 January 2005, at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometres from Saturn.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a co-operative project of NASA, ESA and ASI, the Italian space agency.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Last update: 9 February 2005

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