Pan In the Middle
September 10, 2012
Saturn's tiny moon Pan orbits in the middle of the Encke Gap of the planet's A ring in this image from the Cassini spacecraft.
Pan (17 miles, or 28 kilometers across) is visible as a bright dot in the gap near the center of this view. See Pan's Shadow to see Pan casting a long shadow around the time of Saturn's August 2009 equinox.
The wide Roche Division separates the A ring from the thin F ring in the lower left quarter of the view. This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 20 degrees below the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 25, 2012. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.2 million miles (2 million kilometers) from Pan. Image scale is 7 miles (12 kilometers) 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 in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute