CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Earhart in the A Ring
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Earhart in the A Ring
PIA 17125

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  Cassini scientists continue their quest to understand the origin and evolution of the newly discovered features observed in Saturn's A ring which have become known as "propellers." In this image, the propeller which scientists have dubbed "Earhart" (at the lower left of the image) has been re-acquired.

Scientists hope to understand how the bodies which generate the features -- themselves too small to be seen, yet significantly larger than a typical ring particle -- move around the ring over time. It is hoped that these features may provide insights about how forming planets move around their solar systems. For more on Earhart, see PIA12790.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 48 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 11, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 99 degrees. Image scale is 1 mile (2 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.

For more information about the Cassini Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: August 19, 2013 (PIA 17125)
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