CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Prometheus' Two-Step

Saturn's moon Prometheus continues its dance with the planet's F ring, creating channels in the ring and streamers of extracted ring material as a result.

To watch a movie of this process, see PIA 08397. The potato-shaped Prometheus (86 kilometers, 53 miles across) is overexposed in this image. Bright points of light in the image are stars.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 54 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 16, 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 99 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 21, 2009 (PIA 11497)
Image/Caption Information
  Prometheus' Two-Step
PIA 11497

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Alliance Member Comments
mipsandbips (May 23, 2009 at 9:10 AM):
A recaptured phenomenon inside the F ring where we can now witness
a future ring formation at its very beginnings. The action-reaction
collision of Prometheus with the F ring not only extracts ring material
but may as well be transforming the shape of the moon as these collisions
occur over great periods of time causing further speculation as to what
the final outcome of this event may appear as.