This close-up view of the core of Saturn's narrow outlying F ring provides an unprecedented look at the fine scale structure of this highly perturbed ring.
Like F Ring Dynamism, the structure seen here could be further evidence of the gravitational effects of small moons orbiting in the F ring region. The moons could produce the basic structure which then starts to shear -- the inner/lower part of the F ring core orbits Saturn faster than the outer/upper part -- giving rise to the slanted features.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 25, 2006 at a distance of approximately 254,000 kilometers (158,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 28 degrees. Scale in the original image was 1 kilometer (3,845 feet) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of two and contrast enhanced.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. 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 and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute