Prometheus Between Rings
Saturn's A ring appears bright compared to the thin F ring, which is shepherded by the moon Prometheus, in this view from the Cassini spacecraft.
Prometheus can be seen near the F ring on the middle right of the image. The gravity of potato-shaped Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) periodically creates streamer-channels in the F ring, and the moon's handiwork can be seen faintly on the right. To learn more and to watch a movie of this process, see Soft Collision.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from about 5 degrees above the ringplane.
A star is visible in the lower left of the image.
The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 27, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 322,000 kilometers (200,000 miles) from Prometheus. Image scale is 19 kilometers (12 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