Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2004 July 23
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Saturn's Rings in Natural Color
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: What colors are Saturn's rings? Recent images from the Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn confirm that different rings have slightly different colors. The above image shows their sometimes-subtle differences in brightness and color. The rings reflect sunlight and so, even if they were perfectly reflecting, would appear the color of the Sun. The ring particles are mostly light water-ice, although these particles can be shaded by an unknown type of darker dirt. Thinner and more isolated rings also naturally appear darker. The brightest section pictured above is Saturn's B ring.

Tomorrow's picture: string of pearls

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.