The Cassini spacecraft spies two types of waves in Saturn's A ring: a spiral density wave on the left of the image and a more pronounced spiral bending wave near the middle.
See Two Kinds of Wave to learn more about these two kinds of waves. The slight pixelation visible near the brightest and darkest lines is an unavoidable result of the size of the camera's sensor and of image processing.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from about 21 degrees above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 11, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 279,000 kilometers (173,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 18 degrees. Image scale is about 1 kilometer (1 mile) 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