July 2, 2009
Prometheus is seen near Saturn's tenuous F ring as the moon orbits in the Roche Division, between the F and A rings.
The gravity of potato-shaped Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) periodically creates streamer-channels in the F ring. See Opening a Channel and Busy Moon to learn more. To watch a movie of this process, see Soft Collision. A dark channel from an earlier encounter can be seen in the F ring at the top of the image.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 51 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 2, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.5 million kilometers (932,000 miles) from Prometheus and at a Sun-Prometheus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 108 degrees. Image scale is 9 kilometers (6 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