NASA releases new photo of Saturn’s shadow falling on its rings

PASADENA, Calif. — The Cassini spacecraft takes another stunning photo of Saturn from about 760,000 miles from the planet.

Taken on Feb. 3, the photo shows Saturn’s shadow on its rings growing shorter as the planet’s northern summer approaches.

The shadow will shorten until Saturn’s solstice this month, when it will only extend as far as the innermost A ring, leaving the middle and outer A ring free of the shadow.

Over the course of the Cassini mission, Saturn’s shadow first lengthened steadily until the equinox in August 2009. Since then, the shadow has been shrinking.

The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at NASA’ Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder.