April 29, 2008
A fleet of small moons patrols the outskirts of Saturn's icy rings.
The shepherd moons Prometheus (102 kilometers, or 63 miles across) and Pandora (84 kilometers, or 52 miles across) are seen respectively interior and exterior to the narrow F ring at lower left.
Janus (181 kilometers, or 113 miles across) appears at center right, and Mimas (397 kilometers, or 247 miles across) is visible at lower right.
A 2007 movie sequence acquired during a Cassini ringplane crossing (The Great Crossing) presents a similar view, with moons in motion.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 14 degrees above the ringplane. A background star is faintly visible directly between Prometheus and Mimas.
The image was taken in visible blue light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 16, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.5 million kilometers (960,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 97 kilometers (60 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