Behold B Ring Clumps
August 31, 2009
The Cassini spacecraft looks closely at the outer B ring and the Cassini Division, revealing clump-like structures in the outer edge of the B ring.
The scrambled pattern in the B ring's outer edge -- seen here in the lower left corner of the image -- is the result of the gravitational clumping of particles there. To learn more about these patterns, see Inspecting the Edge. The Cassini Division occupies most of the rest of the image. The A ring can be see in the upper right.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 31 degrees below the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 10, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 320,000 kilometers (199,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 69 degrees. Image scale is about 2 kilometers (5,141 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