CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Tortured Ring

Tortured Ring
PIA 11472

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  The fragile F ring bears the signs of a moon's bruising passing.

The A ring and its Keeler Gap sit idly by on the right of this image, but on the left dark lines cut across the F ring and mark where the moon Prometheus has gored the ring and gravitationally drawn streamer-channels of material from the ring (see PIA10509). To the left and right of the bright core, the F ring also displays the ghostly stands of its spiral arm (see PIA07717 ) which winds around the planet like a compressed spring.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 11 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 2, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 33 degrees. Image scale is 7 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: April 16, 2009 (PIA 11472)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
mipsandbips (Apr 20, 2009 at 9:05 PM):
Cassini has captured in this photo what Voyager detected as a "braiding effect" F ring more than 27 years later! "The small bright dash" was called a star trail. Compared to the Cassini image one can only imagine what the sensors of Voyager had been detecting as the tortured ring or "braiding effect" of Voyager must have been filtering out what we are witnessing here as the true image.
mipsandbips (Apr 18, 2009 at 7:22 PM):
The image of the tortured "F" ring brings with it the
prospect of a continuous magnetic field(s) as well as holding the
potential for a recoil force.