CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Waking the A Ring
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Curving wakes perturb the edges of the Encke Gap in Saturn's A ring. The culprit in their creation is the flying saucer-shaped moon Pan, shining brightly within the gap.

Ahead of Pan (28 kilometers, 17 miles across) in its orbit are two narrow ringlets.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 9 degrees above the ringplane. Saturn's F ring cuts across the lower right corner of the scene.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 5, 2008. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (889,000 miles) from Pan and at a Sun-Pan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 21 degrees. Image scale is 9 kilometers (5 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.

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

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: April 18, 2008 (PIA 09883)
Image/Caption Information
  Waking the A Ring
PIA 09883

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