Status Report

NASA Cassini Image: Ring Moon Rendezvous

By SpaceRef Editor
May 23, 2007
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Full-Res: PIA08941

Across the expanse of Saturn’s rings, the Cassini spacecraft spies two small moons in consort. Atlas (32 kilometers, or 20 miles across) is seen exterior to the bright outer edge of the A ring. Daphnis (7 kilometers, or 4.3 miles across), below Atlas in this view, orbits Saturn within the narrow Keeler Gap. The presence of Daphnis is revealed by the waves it raises in the ring material surrounding it on the edges of the gap. Daphnis and its waves moved between exposures taken to create this color view, resulting in their slight displacement in each color.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 18 degrees above the ringplane. Bright clumps are visible in the narrow F ring.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 13, 2007 at a distance of approximately 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Atlas. Image scale is 11 kilometers (7 miles) 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 mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

SpaceRef staff editor.