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Rainbow on the Rings
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Rainbow on the Rings

October 27, 2007

The opposition effect, a brightness surge that is visible on Saturn's rings when the sun is directly behind the spacecraft, is captured here as a colorful halo of light moving across Saturn's sunlit rings.

The rainbow of color seen here is actually an artifact and a by-product of the spot's movement and the way the color image was produced. Cassini acquires color images by taking sequential exposures using red, green and blue spectral filters, which are then composited together to form a color view. The bright patch traveled across the rings between exposures taken for this view, creating a series of three colorful spots showing its position at three separate moments.

See Opposition Surge on the A Ring for more information about the opposition effect. Surging Onward shows a movie sequence of the bright spot traveling across the rings.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 9 degrees below the ringplane.

The images in this view were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on June 12, 2007, at a distance of approximately 523,000 kilometers (325,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 31 kilometers (19 miles) per pixel.