CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Ring Moons' Effects

Saturn's moons Daphnis and Pan work their effects on the planet's rings in this view from Cassini.

Daphnis (5 miles, 8 kilometers across), on the left of the image, orbits in the Keeler Gap of the A ring. The moon's gravitational pull perturbs the orbits of the particles of the A ring forming the gap's edge and sculpts the edge into waves having both horizontal (radial) and out-of-plane components. See PIA11655 and PIA12698 to learn more.

Pan (17 miles, 28 kilometers across), in the top right of the image, orbits in the Encke Gap of the A ring. The effects of that moon's gravity can be seen as dark wakes propagating toward the middle of the image. See PIA07528 and PIA10529 to learn more.

This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 6 degrees below the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 3, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 329,000 miles (529,000 kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 2 miles (3 kilometers) 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-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: May 14, 2012 (PIA 14608)
Image/Caption Information
  Ring Moons' Effects
PIA 14608

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Alliance Member Comments
Judit (May 14, 2012 at 1:53 PM):
I notice this was taken a year ago. Makes me wonder, how many images does Cassini transmit a day? Is each and every one of them cataloged, analyzed, and captioned before release? Or do some of them get discarded due to bad quality or any other reason?

I like this one (well, all the ring images, in fact) very much. I'm absolutely in love with the rings and I'm trying to find out as much as possible about them. As much as I can comprehend, that is... :) What does it take, besides experience, obviously, to tell what a gap or wave or any disturbance in a pattern may indicate? It blows my mind every time I look at an image like this, that there are people who can even guess how those tiny ripples came to be. For now I'm happy if I can tell the rings apart :)