An image of the fine structure in the D-ring

Photojournal: PIA07715

September 5, 2005

This view is part of a montage of images from the NASA Cassini and Voyager missions shown in D Ring Revelations. The inset image from the montage is presented here by itself and in its original orientation.

Cassini has observed the D-ring at much higher resolution than was possible for Voyager, revealing surprising fine-scale structures. This narrow-angle camera image was taken on May 21, 2005, and shows the region between the D ring feature named D73 and the inner edge of the C-ring at 2 kilometer (1 mile) per pixel resolution. This region contains a periodic wave-like structure with a wavelength of 30 kilometers (19 miles). The faint horizontal bands in the image are instrumental artifacts.

The fine structure in the D-ring (visible here) could be related to perturbations from the planet or its magnetic field. The Cassini results provide information about the dynamics of ring particles in a new regime -- one very close to the planet and sparsely populated by icy particles the size of dust.

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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

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