CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Fragile F Ring

Set starkly against the blackness of space are the F ring's delicate strands which are periodically gored by its shepherding moon, Prometheus.

Prometheus (86 kilometers, 53 miles across) and Pandora (81 kilometers, 50 miles across) both interact with the ring, but neither is visible here. Prometheus has the larger effect, and a movie of Prometheus creating a streamer-channel in the ring can be found here.

A star can be seen through the ring in the lower third of the image.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 33 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 11, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1 million kilometers (659,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 37 degrees. Image scale is 6 kilometers (4 miles) 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: February 26, 2009 (PIA 10587)
Image/Caption Information
  Fragile F Ring
PIA 10587

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Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Mar 4, 2009 at 2:03 PM):
In this image even the brightest part of this ring looks rather different just below the middle.
NeKto (Feb 26, 2009 at 9:08 PM):
another fascinating image.
another beautiful image.
another example of the great art in nature there for anyone who cares to look at it.