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News Release 763 of 967

April 26, 1996 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1996-18

Saturn Ring-Plane Crossing, November 1995

April 26, 1996: This is a rare view of Saturn's rings seen just after the Sun has set below the ring plane.

This perspective is unusual because the Earth is slightly above Saturn's rings and the Sun is below them. Normally we see the rings fully illuminated by the Sun. The Hubble telescope photograph reveals three bright ring features [moving from the outer to the inner rings]: the F Ring, the Cassini Division, and the C Ring. The low concentration of material in these rings allows light from the Sun to shine through them. The A and B rings are much denser, which limits the amount of light that penetrates through them. Instead, they are faintly visible because they reflect light from Saturn's disk.

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Credit: Phil Nicholson (Cornell University), Steve Larson (University of Arizona) and NASA