Quote: "Interior to the G ring and above the brighter main rings is the pale blue dot of Earth. Cassini views its point of origin from over a billion kilometers (and close to a billion miles) away in the icy depths of the outer solar system."
(Saturn is "icy depths of the outer solar system"? Well, I'll never! That's the Oort cloud. This is merely the better neighborhood, with the fancy planets ...)
If you're still having trouble wrapping your mind around the shadowy part... Look at this image and imagine the light source coming from behind instead:
edit: Just found it! http://i.imgur.com/ZCEKA.jpg
Research telescopes often have live feeds for popular events (such as the Venus transit).
Finally depending on your location you may be no further than a day trip away to an astronomical facility - they often have events open to the public, stargazing etc.
BTW Here's another "christmassy" picture (this time of the Bubble Nebula) from a brand new instrument:
Disclaimer - Latter link is my employer, but I have nothing to gain from you clicking on it :-)
Oh Edit: you can also go data-mining in public astronomy databases, though sadly most of them are not geared for use by the general public.
Oh Edit2: You can have some fun with this http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/ but you need Silverlight
Many of the events are asteroids or possible NEOs, but others are galactic and extra-galactic, like supernovae, blazars, etc.
It's not backyard astronomy, because the events are being detected by 1 meter telescopes and have magnitude of perhaps 18 or 20, but it's a more open and data-rich situation than a few sources being kept under wraps for follow-up by the discoverer only.
I prefer the more three-dimensional looking images like http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/multimedia/pia1462....
I'd like to see other renderings.
edit: I think there is a bit of an optical illusion, part of which is happening because of the over-saturation of the corona. The image makes more sense if you soom out a bit and understand you are looking <up> at the planet from the souther hemispher (ie, below the equator/rings belt). The missing rings should be in the fore-ground but are absent due to shadow. Again, the corona;s colour saturation is so strong it throws the image constuct off when looking at it in more magnification.
I can better appreciate the view now.
This image was specifically processed to look closer to real colors: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/multimedia/gallery...
It is also theorized that the reason that the reason why Saturn's rings do not do this(though this could just a matter of time that we are now viewing them at) is because they are prodomonantly ice crystals which constantly bounce into each other breaking and re-freezing. IE why we can see them at all(reflective surfaces on the ice) rather then them be covered with dirt & dust and rendering them unreflective.
Further more to your question I "think" any planet or even any object could have rings, its just there are many factors that go into play and singularly it is REALLY hard to see them, and we only have our galaxy where we would be able to tell if an object did or didn't have them.
Indeed. (1997 Nature article) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v389/n6649/full/389353a...
[Probably too late, but for anyone reading this later.]