CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Structure Along the Edge

Structure Along the Edge
PIA 10404

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  Cassini stares at the Huygens Gap--the region between Saturn's outer B ring and the ringlets of the prominent Cassini Division--in this high-resolution view.

Ring scientists think that the scrambled pattern seen here in the B ring's outer edge might represent gravitational clumping of particles there--that is, the self-gravity of groups of particles orbiting together makes them form clumps.

The outer B ring edge (at left) is maintained by a resonance with the moon Mimas. The clumping feature may be due to the fact that this region is compressed periodically, owing to perturbations by Mimas.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 44 degrees below the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 10, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 270,000 kilometers (168,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) 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 16, 2008 (PIA 10404)
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