Expanse of Ice
October 15, 2007
A scan across Saturn's incredible halo of ice rings yields a study in precision and order.
This natural color mosaic was acquired by the Cassini spacecraft as it soared 39 degrees above the unilluminated side of the rings.
Major named gaps are labeled at the top. The main rings themselves, along with the F ring, are labeled at the bottom, along with their inner and outer boundaries.
This mosaic was constructed from narrow-angle camera images taken immediately after the wide-angle camera mosaic On the Final Frontier. Radial features can be seen in the rings that are about ten times smaller than in the wide-angle view. This scan is rotated 180 degrees compared to On the Final Frontier in order to present the rings with distance from Saturn increasing left to right.
The view combines 45 images -- 15 separate sets of red, green and blue images -- taken over the course of about 2.5 hours, as Cassini scanned across the rings.
The images in this view were obtained on May 9, 2007, at a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometers (700,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale in the radial (horizontal) direction is about 6 kilometers (4 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.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute