Science and Exploration

Saturn Propeller, Light and Dark

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
June 25, 2013
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Saturn Propeller, Light and Dark
Saturn Propeller, Light and Dark
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The Cassini spacecraft has been monitoring propeller features since their discovery. Here the propeller dubbed Bleriot is seen in a recent image. The bright dash-like features are regions where a small moonlet has caused ring particles to cluster together more densely than normal.
Beyond the bright areas are fainter, longer dark linear features. These are believed to be extended regions where the same moonlet has caused particles to evacuate, leaving an under-dense (thus darker) area.

To learn more about propellers, see PIA07792 and PIA07791. For more of Bleriot, see PIA12789.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 33 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 3, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 301,000 miles (484,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 119 degrees. Image scale is 2 miles (3 kilometers) per pixel.

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