Trio of Small Moons
September 9, 2010
The F ring's shepherds, Prometheus and Pandora, join Epimetheus in this image of three of Saturn's moons and the rings.
Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) can be seen orbiting inside the thin F ring near the middle of the image. Pandora (81 kilometers, or 50 miles across) orbits outside the F ring to the left of Prometheus. Epimetheus (113 kilometers, or 70 miles across) orbits beyond the F ring near the bottom of the image.
See Close to the Shepherd Moons to learn more about how Prometheus and Pandora "shepherd" the F ring.
This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 2 degrees below the ringplane. Several background stars are visible.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 2, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.5 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Prometheus and Pandora. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.6 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Epimetheus. Image scale is 15 kilometers (9 miles) per pixel on Prometheus and Pandora. Image scale is 16 kilometers (10 miles) per pixel on Epimetheus.
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