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The F ring shows off a rich variety of phenomena in this image from Cassini. Near the lower-right of the F ring are two "fans" of material radiating out of the main strand (or "core") of the ring. Kinks are apparent all along the core, and dark "channels" cut into the main strand can be seen in places, the result of a recent interaction with the shepherd moon Prometheus.
Scientists believe that many of the F ring's diverse features are the result of interactions between ring material and either the shepherd moons or clumps of material within the ring.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 6 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 25, 2012.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 684,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 17 degrees. Image scale is 4 miles (6 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.