Recent Cassini images show arcs of material co-orbiting with the Saturnian moons Anthe and Methone.
Arrows indicate the positions of Anthe, at top left, and Methone, at bottom right.
Micrometeoroid impacts on the moons are the likely source of the arc material. Cassini imaging scientists believe the process that maintains the Anthe and Methone arcs is similar to that which maintains the arc in the G ring (see PIA08327).
The general brightness of the image (along with the faint horizontal banding pattern) results from the long exposure time of 15 seconds required to capture the extremely faint ring arc and the processing needed to enhance its visibility (which also enhances the digital background noise in the image). The image was digitally processed to remove most of the background noise.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 2 degrees above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 29, 2007. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Anthe and 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Methone. Image scale is 14 kilometers (9 miles) per pixel on Anthe and 13 kilometers (8 miles) on Methone.
The Cassini Equinox Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. 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.