This newly released Cassini image provides an illusion of perspective, showing Saturn’s moon Tethys above the planet’s north pole.
Tethys (660 miles or 1,062 kilometers across) is actually farther away than Saturn in this image. Lacking visual clues about distance, our brains place the moon above Saturn’s north pole. Tethys, like all of Saturn’s major moons and its ring system, orbits almost exactly in the planet’s equatorial plane.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 17 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft’s wide-angle camera on Jan. 26, 2015 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.1 million miles (3.4 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale on Saturn is 120 miles (200 kilometers) per pixel. Tethys has been brightened by a factor of three relative to Saturn to enhance its visibility.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute