Saturn's realm


. The magnificent rings of Saturn encircle the planet, never touching its cloud tops. The prominent gap in the rings is named the Cassini Division. The yellow-brown atmosphere of Saturn, shown here in enhanced color, has a banded structure, but it lacks Jupiter's bright zones and belts. Three icy satellites (Tethys, Dione and Rhea) are visible as small white spots against the darkness of space (bottom left), and another smaller satellite (Mimas) is visible against Saturn's cloud tops, just below the rings (right). Because of its rapid spin, Saturn has an oblong, egg-like shape, flattened at the poles and extended at the equator. (Courtesy of JPL and NASA.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University