Epimetheus, Rings and Spokes
December 15, 2009
Orbiting near the plane of Saturn's rings, the Cassini spacecraft looks across the span of the rings to spy the small moon Epimetheus.
The brightest spoke is visible on the left of the image, but others can be seen near the middle of the image and elsewhere on the B ring. See 'Tis the Season for Spokes to learn more about these ghostly radial markings.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from about 1 degree above the ringplane. Cassini is closer to the rings than to Epimetheus (113 kilometers, or 70 miles across). Two background stars are visible. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 18, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Epimetheus. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 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