Beneath the rings of Saturn

Beneath the rings of Saturn

Fig. 10.16 . When the Voyager 1 spacecraft dove beneath Saturnís rings, it could view sunlight transmitted through the rings, presenting a reversed image of the sunlit side. Both the C ring and Cassiniís Division appear bright because they are sparsely populated with small particles that efficiently scatter light in the forward direction, whereas the B ring appears dark because its densely-packed particles absorb all the incident sunlight. This perspective is not available from Earth, where we always see the sunlit side of the rings. Two bright, icy satellites, Mimas and Prometheus are seen at the upper center and upper left. (Courtesy of NASA/JPL.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University