CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Hordes of Tiny Moonlets Populate Saturn's F Ring

The analysis of thousands of images taken since Cassini's arrival at Saturn in 2004 has uncovered evidence for hundreds of tiny, 1-km-sized bodies punching through Saturn's F ring, leaving glittering trails of icy particles behind them. These trails, or "mini-jets," fill in a missing link in our story of the curious behavior of the F ring. (News release can be found here.)

Apr 23, 2012: Glittering Trail in Saturn's F Ring - One of the glittering trails caused by small objects punching through Saturn's F ring is highlighted in this movie from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
Apr 23, 2012: Classic Trails or Mini-Jets - This set of six images obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows trails that were dragged out from Saturn's F ring by objects about a half mile (1 kilometer) in diameter.
Apr 23, 2012: Exotic Trails or Mini-Jets - This set of four images obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows some of the more bizarre trails that were dragged out from Saturn's F ring by objects about a half mile (1 kilometer) in diameter.
Apr 23, 2012: Small Trail at Saturn Orbit Insertion - This image obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft around the time it went into orbit around Saturn in 2004 shows a short trail of icy particles dragged out from Saturn's F ring.
Apr 23, 2012: F Ring Patterns - In this movie from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, the gravitational pull of Saturn's moon Prometheus creates patterns in Saturn's F ring.
Apr 23, 2012: Wavy, Wiggly Ring - The constant change in Saturn's wavy, wiggly F ring is on display in this set of images obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

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