Propeller, Light and Dark
June 24, 2013
The Cassini spacecraft has been monitoring propeller features since their discovery. Here the propeller dubbed Bleriot is seen in a recent image. The bright dash-like features are regions where a small moonlet has caused ring particles to cluster together more densely than normal. Beyond the bright areas are fainter, longer dark linear features. These are believed to be extended regions where the same moonlet has caused particles to evacuate, leaving an under-dense (thus darker) area.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 33 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 3, 2013.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 301,000 miles (484,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 119 degrees. Image scale is 2 miles (3 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