A Wisp of Smoke
January 2, 2008
The Cassini spacecraft peers through the fine, smoke-sized ice particles of Saturn's F ring toward the cratered face of Mimas. The F ring's core, which contains significantly larger particles, is dense enough to completely block the light from Mimas.
The view looks toward the trailing hemisphere on the Saturn-facing side of Mimas (397 kilometers, or 247 miles across), and toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 2 degrees below the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 18, 2007. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 772,000 kilometers (480,000 miles) from Mimas. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 miles) per pixel on the moon.
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