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Ring-Hugging Moons



Category: Rings

The unlit side of Saturn's rings, Epimetheus and Pandora

Ring-Hugging Moons
May 10, 2006
Full-Res: PIA08175

Epimetheus floats in the distance below center, showing only the barest hint of its irregular shape. Pandora hides herself in the ringplane, near upper right, appearing as little more than a bump.

This view is from just above the ringplane and shows features on the unlit side of Saturn's rings.

Epimetheus (116 kilometers, or 72 miles across) and Pandora (84 kilometers, or 52 miles across) hug the outer reaches of Saturn's main rings. Pandora orbits just outside the F ring, and Epimetheus jockeys for position with Janus, 10,000 kilometers beyond. Janus and Epimetheus recently swapped positions, and Janus will remain the innermost of the pair until 2010, when they will swap positions again.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 29, 2006, at a distance of approximately 3.3 million kilometers (2 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) per pixel at the distance of Saturn.

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 http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit:NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute




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