Bruce Murray Space Image Library
Cassini crosses Saturn's ring plane, 4 February 2007
The most opaque ring, the B ring, which casts the broadest, blackest shadow across the northern face of Saturn, changes most in brightness from lit to unlit side, while the much more transparent C ring, located closer to Saturn than the B ring (and which casts the thin groove-like shadows across Saturn's near-equatorial regions) changes very little in appearance as Saturn crosses the plane. This 11-frame animation was created from frames taken by Cassini's wide-angle camera through red, green, and blue filters; the frames are 20 minutes apart, so the whole animation spans two hours and 40 minutes. During that time, Saturn rotates nearly a quarter turn, which can be seen in the motions of clouds in the northern latitudes. At the very end of the animation, a bright dot -- the moon Enceladus -- appears on the far side of Saturn's rings. In the full-resolution version of the animation (GIF format, 3.2 MB), Epimetheus is also visible, running ahead of, and faster than, Enceladus.