The ghostly spokes in Saturn's B ring continue to put on a show for the Cassini cameras in this recent image. The small moon Atlas also appears here in between the A and F rings as the fainter dot close to A ring. A bright star also appears in the gap between the two rings and there are six other stars visible (one through the C ring).
The spokes, believed to be a seasonal phenomenon, are expected to disappear as Saturn nears its northern hemisphere summer. Scientists continue to monitor the spokes to better understand their origin and evolution.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 49 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 20, 2012.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 840,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 105 degrees. Image scale is 48 miles (77 kilometers) per pixel.
The Cassini Solstice 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.