Spokes on the Wheel
As they wheel about the planet, Saturn's sunlit rings often exhibit dark, radial markings called spokes.
Spokes are seen only in the broad B ring, and can also appear bright in certain viewing geometries (see Spoke Sighting).
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 11 degrees below the ringplane.
Pandora (81 kilometers, or 50 miles across) is a speck above the rings at left. The planet's shadow darkens the ringplane at lower right.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on June 3, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1 million kilometers (636,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 19 degrees. Image scale is 61 kilometers (38 miles) per pixel.
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.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute