June 8, 2010
Kinky, discontinuous ringlets occupy the Encke Gap in Saturn's A ring in the middle of this Cassini spacecraft image.
During the planet's August 2009 equinox, parts of these thin ringlets cast shadows onto the A ring (see Shadows and More Shadows).
This view looks toward the northern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 17 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 8, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) from Saturn. 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