F Ring Channels
August 15, 2008
A train of diagonal channels in Saturn's F ring follows behind the moon Prometheus. Each of these features was created during a previous close approach of Prometheus to the ring.
When the moon is at the farthest point in its orbit of the planet, it strays close to (and often into) the F ring. The resulting gravitational disturbance leaves behind the channels seen here.
Atlas (30 kilometers, or 19 miles across at its widest point) appears at lower right.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 27 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 5, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometers (675,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 34 degrees. Image scale is 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