CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Cruising with Pan

Cruising with Pan
PIA 08320

Avg Rating: 8.92/10

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Cruising with Pan
PIA 08320

Avg Rating: 8.46/10

Still Image 495x454:
  The small ring-embedded walnut-shaped moon, Pan, coasts along in this movie clip from Cassini.

The movie begins with Pan (28 kilometers, 17 miles across) and the rings against the night side of Saturn. Cassini stays fixed on Pan as the moon heads toward the outside edge, or ansa, of the Encke gap (325 kilometers, 200 miles wide) in which it orbits. Saturn's dark shadow is seen stretching across the middle of the ringplane. Midway through the sequence, the far side of the rings emerges from behind the planet but eventually is completely darkened by Saturn's shadow.

The small, bright moving object that appears from lower left near the end of the sequence is a bright background star.

The 40 images in this movie were taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera on April 29, 2006 from a distance of approximately 209,000 kilometers (130,000 miles) from Pan. The image scale is approximately 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. 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-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: June 21, 2006 (PIA 08320)
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