CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Grandeur of the Rings
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Grandeur of the Rings
PIA 09865

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  From on high, Cassini spies a group of three ring moons in their travels around Saturn.

Janus (179 kilometers, 111 miles across) is seen at top, while Pandora (81 kilometers, 50 miles across) hugs the outer edge of the narrow F ring. More difficult to spot is Pan (28 kilometers, 17 miles across), which is a mere speck in this view. Pan can be seen in the Encke Gap, near center left. (See PIA08389 for a labeled Cassini map of the rings.)

The speck seen between the A and F rings at left is a background star.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 40 degrees above the ringplane.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. Bright clumps of material in the narrow F ring moved in their orbits between each of the color exposures, creating a chromatic misalignment that provides some sense of the continuous motion in the ring system.

The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Feb. 7, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometers (700,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale at the center of the view is 74 kilometers (46 miles) per pixel in the radial, or outward from Saturn, direction.

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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: March 25, 2008 (PIA 09865)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Mar 25, 2008 at 7:29 AM):
Nothing less than tantalizing; it seems to have been cropped of
I can't wait for the summer when Cassini, according to the mission webpage will be at its highest inclination; just imagine how beautiful would be one "On the Final Frontier", but from that viewpoint -even a simulated Celestia view can't hold against a CICLOPS image-