Saturn's shadow stretched beyond the edge of its rings for many years after Cassini first arrived at Saturn, casting an ever-lengthening shadow that reached its maximum extent at the planet's 2009 equinox. This image captured the moment on September 12, 2015 when the shrinking shadow just barely reached across the entire main ring system. The shadow will continue to shrink until the planet's northern summer solstice, at which point it will once again start lengthening across the rings, reaching across them in 2019. Like Earth, Saturn is tilted on its axis. And, just as on Earth, as the sun climbs higher in the sky, shadows get shorter. The projection of the planet's shadow onto the rings shrinks and grows over the course of its 29-year-long orbit, as the angle of the sun changes with respect to Saturn's equator. This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 11 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 16, 2015. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.6 million miles (2.5 million kilometers) from Saturn.
Stunning fine art photography collection featuring images of space exploration captured by NASA photographers and vehicles over the past several decades. Images are available in select limited edition sizes and are produced on heavyweight archival exhibition fiber. Ready to frame and ships immediately.