NASA's first Saturn probe soared past the ringed planet in 1979, but the low-resolution images sent back to Earth revealed few details. In 2004, the Cassini spacecraft brought the planet into sharp focus when it became the first craft to orbit Saturn.
In this photo, an unusual perspective on Saturn renders almost all of its main rings transparent, visible only by the shadow they cast upon the planet. This natural-color view, captured by the Cassini spacecraft in 2007, shows the dark side of the rings from an angle slightly above the ring plane. Swirling winds blustering at more than 1,000 miles per hour, along with heat rising from the planetary interior, create the gold and yellow atmospheric bands.