These views, taken two hours apart, demonstrate the dramatic variability in the structure of Saturn's intriguing F ring.
In the image at left, ringlets in the F ring and Encke Gap display distinctive kinks, and there is a bright patch of material on the F ring's inner edge. Janus (179 kilometers, 111 miles across) is shown here, partly illuminated by reflected light from Saturn.
At right, Prometheus (86 kilometers, 53 miles across) orbit ahead of the radial striations in the F ring called "drapes" by scientists. The drapes appear to be caused by successive passes of Prometheus as it reaches the greatest distance (apoapse) in its orbit of Saturn. Also in this image, the outer most ringlet visible in the Encke Gap displays distinctive bright patches.
These views were obtained from about three degrees below the ring plane.
The images were taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera on June 29, 2005 when Cassini was about 1.5 million kilometers (900,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is about 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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.