CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Janus the Jewel

Janus the Jewel
PIA 18304

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  Janus appears to hang from the rings like a jewel suspended on an invisible string.

In reality, Janus and the rings both orbit Saturn and are only weakly connected to each other through their mutual gravitational tugs. At specific locations in the rings, these gravitational tugs result in orbital resonances, which lead to some beautiful waves being created in the rings. See PIA10452 for an example. Janus is 111 miles, or 179 kilometers, across.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 19 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 5, 2014.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million miles (2.0 million kilometers) from Janus and at a Sun-Janus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 35 degrees. Image scale is 7 miles (12 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini Solstice 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 Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: February 16, 2015 (PIA 18304)
Image/Caption Information