Saturn’s Rings Up Close

Article written: 2 Jul , 2004
Updated: 24 Mar , 2012
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This is a narrow-angle camera image of Saturn’s rings taken after the successful completion of the orbit insertion burn when the spacecraft had crossed the ring plane and was looking upwards at the lit face of the rings. The image shows details in the Encke gap (325 kilometers, 202 miles wide) in Saturn’s A ring. The center of the gap lies at a distance of 133,600 kilometers (83,000 miles) from Saturn. The image shows a ring in the center of the gap. The wavy inner edge of the gap and the wake-like structures emanating from its inner edge are caused by the tiny moon Pan that orbits in the middle of the gap. Two fainter ring features are also visible in the gap region.

Cassini was approximately 195,000 kilometers (121,000 miles) above the ringplane when the image was obtained. Image scale is approximately 1 kilometer per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.

Original Source: CICLOPS News Release


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