High resolution Cassini images show an astonishing level of structure in the Cassini Division, including two ringlets that were not seen in Voyager spacecraft images 25 years ago.
The first image (PIA08330) shows a new ringlet at right, just interior to the bright outer edge of the Cassini Division. This diffuse structure is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) wide.
The second new ringlet is roughly at center in this view. It is a very narrow feature, about 6 kilometers (4 miles) wide, between the familiar broad bands of material in the Cassini Divsion, and displays a great deal of variation in brightness along its length. (We include here an annotated version of this image indicating the new rings.)
A second view (PIA08331) was taken with the Sun almost directly behind Saturn and its rings--a viewing geometry in which microscopic ring particles brighten substantially. This view shows the diffuse new ringlet in the Cassini Division as the brightest feature in that region. (We include here an annotated version of this image indicating the new ring.)
PIA08330 was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 9, 2006 at a distance of approximately 414,000 kilometers (257,000 miles) from Saturn. This view looks toward the lit side of the rings from about 17 degrees below the ringplane. The phase angle, or Sun-Saturn-spacecraft angle, was 96 degrees. Image scale on the sky at the distance of Saturn is 2 kilometers (1 mile) per pixel.
PIA08331 was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 15 at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn. This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 15 degrees above the ringplane. The phase angle, or Sun-Saturn-spacecraft angle, was 179 degrees. Image scale on the sky at the distance of Saturn is 13 kilometers (8 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.