The effects of the moon Prometheus create intricate formations in Saturn's thin F ring.
The gravity of potato-shaped Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) periodically creates streamer-channels in the F ring. See Opening a Channel and Busy Moon to learn more. To watch a movie of this process, see Soft Collision.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 9 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 26, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 922,000 kilometers (573,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 27 degrees. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 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.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute