CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Encke Ringlets

Encke Ringlets
PIA 11502

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  Although Saturn's moon Pan is absent from this image of the A ring's Encke Gap, the moon's handiwork is still displayed.

The two ringlets seen in the gap are maintained by the gravitational action of Pan (28 kilometers, 17 miles across). To learn more about this process, see PIA 07528. The point of light near the bottom of the image is a star.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 41 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 17, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.3 million kilometers (808,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 115 degrees. Image scale is 8 kilometers (5 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: May 28, 2009 (PIA 11502)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
mipsandbips (May 29, 2009 at 11:11 PM):
The ringlets are shown brilliantly here with their
resonant characteristics diverging equidistant from the camera
angle of the image.