CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Saturn Rings Processed #7
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This is a narrow-angle camera image of Saturn's rings taken after the successful completion of the orbit insertion burn when the spacecraft had crossed the ring plane and was looking upwards at the lit face of the rings. The image shows details in the Encke gap (325 kilometers, 202 miles wide) in Saturn's A ring. The center of the gap lies at a distance of 133,600 kilometers (83,000 miles) from Saturn. The image shows a ring in the center of the gap. The wavy inner edge of the gap and the wake-like structures emanating from its inner edge are caused by the tiny moon Pan that orbits in the middle of the gap. Two fainter ring features are also visible in the gap region.

Cassini was approximately 195,000 kilometers (121,000 miles) above the ringplane when the image was obtained. Image scale is approximately 1 kilometer 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 Office of Space Science, 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: July 1, 2004 (PIA 06099)
Image/Caption Information
  Saturn Rings Processed #7
PIA 06099

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Alliance Member Comments
alwolfe (Feb 22, 2008 at 2:17 AM):
I'm curious - what is the obliquity of the rings in this image? Would it be correct to say that all of the prominent bands visible in the A ring are spiral density waves induced by Pan?

Thanks, Alan