The shadow of Saturn on the rings, which stretched across all of the rings earlier in Cassini's mission, now barely makes it past the Cassini division.
The changing length of the shadow marks the passing of the seasons on Saturn. As the planet nears its northern-hemisphere solstice in May 2017, the shadow will get even shorter. At solstice, the shadow's edge will be about 45,000 kilometres from the planet's surface, barely making it past the middle of the B ring.
The moon Mimas is a few pixels wide, near the lower left in this image.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 35 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on 21 May 2016.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 3.2 million kilometres from Saturn. Image scale is 190 kilometres per pixel.
The Cassini Solstice Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. 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 was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
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