PIA11539: Engulfing a Gap
- Original Caption Released with Image:
The shadow of the moon Tethys is cast onto Saturn's A ring, almost
blanketing the Enke Gap.
The novel illumination geometry created as Saturn approaches its August
2009 equinox allows moons orbiting in or near the plane of Saturn's
equatorial rings to cast shadows onto the rings. These scenes are possible
only during the few months before and after Saturn's equinox which occurs
only once in about 15 Earth years. To learn more about this special time
and to see a movie of a moon's shadow moving across the rings, see PIA11651 and
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 29 degrees
below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini
spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 25, 2009. The view was acquired at a
distance of approximately 759,000 kilometers (472,000 miles) from Saturn
and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 56 degrees. Image scale
is 4 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.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/. The Cassini imaging team
homepage is at http://ciclops.org.
- Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Image Addition Date:
Image and caption provided by the Planetary Photojournal --