July 9, 2008
The Cassini spacecraft continues to investigate the intriguing structure in Saturn's outer B-ring edge. This region has a much perturbed character compared to the orderly rings around it.
Ring scientists think these features may be groupings of particles that clump together under to their own gravity. The clumping features may result from the fact that this region is compressed periodically, owing to perturbations by the moon Mimas. Mimas maintains this ring edge via a gravitational resonance.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 51 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 2, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 185,000 kilometers (115,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 771 meters (2,530 feet) 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