Lost Among Rings
Pan is nearly lost within Saturn's rings in this view that captures a small section of the rings from just above the ringplane.
Pan (28 kilometers, or 17 miles across) appears a small bright dot on the far side of the rings near the middle top of the image. Pan orbits in the Encke Gap of the A ring. See Pan's Short Shadow to see Pan casting a shadow on the ring around the time of Saturn's August 2009 equinox.
A bright spoke also can be seen on the far right center of the image. To learn about spokes, see 'Tis the Season for Spokes and The Spoke Search.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 7, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Pan and at a Sun-Pan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 98 degrees. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 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