April 9, 2009
The faint G ring surrounding Saturn offers up a glimpse of its newfound tiny moonlet.
The moonlet is near the center of this image. A long exposure of 46 seconds was required to capture the light from this tiny object and G ring, so the moonlet and a few stars have been smeared by motion, the stars showing up as short diagonal dashes. The moonlet has also been smeared and appears to be a short vertical dash that is aligned with the ring.
In August 2008 Cassini scientists spotted this moonlet, dubbed S/2008 S 1. It orbits in an arc, or partial ring, within the G ring. Imaging team scientists estimated the moonlet's diameter at about half a kilometer (one-third mile). For earlier images of this moonlet, see Tiny Moonlet Within G Ring Arc.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 14 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 20, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 7 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