What the heck is going on with Saturn's rings in this photograph?

Illustration for article titled What the heck is going on with Saturns rings in this photograph?

NASA's Cassini orbiter just beamed back its latest batch of images of Saturn and its various satellites. They are, as usual, gorgeous, but this stunning view of the planet — photographed from below the plane of its rings — really captured our attention. Our immediate reaction: what has become of the planet's rings?


A split second later and you realize: they're hidden in the planet's shadow. But it turns out that's not the only thing interesting about this photograph. Over at Bad Astronomy, Phil Plait has pointed out several other things that make this view of Saturn particularly noteworthy, including the planet's wonky F-ring, two barely-perceptible moons, and an awesome astronomical phenomenon known as ring-shine. For details, we leave you in the capable hands of Plait — head over to Bad Astronomy for all the nitty gritty.

[Cassini Images via Bad Astronomy]

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I once saw Saturn at the Griffith Observatory. Nothing humbled me more than seeing that planet, its rings, and its moons with my own eye. (1.5 billion km away from my eye)

Images like this make me feel like a little kid again.