CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Ring Disrupted

Ring Disrupted
PIA 10528

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  In this image of the F ring, taken shortly after its ring particles encountered the shepherd moon Prometheus, the disruption to the ring caused by the moon is evident. The bright core of the ring and its neighboring faint strands show kinks where the moon's gravity has altered the orbits of the ring particles.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 23, 2008 at a distance of approximately 444,000 kilometers (276,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 88 degrees. Image scale is 2 kilometers (1 mile) per pixel.

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.

For more information about the Cassini Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: December 5, 2008 (PIA 10528)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Dec 10, 2008 at 8:18 PM):
when Voyager flew by the rings of Saturn we learned how much we did not know about gravity. i am amazed that the most familiar fundamental force in the universe, one we all understand on a gross level, continues to suprize when the small details are examined. no one predicted anything like this, that i ever heard, before we actually had this kind of close look.