PIA07576: On the Lookout for Spokes

On the Lookout for Spokes


The extreme contrast in this view of the unlit side of Saturn's rings is intentional. Contrast-enhanced views like this are used to look for spokes (the transient, ghostly lanes of dust seen in NASA Voyager and Hubble Space Telescope images), but so far, none have been seen by Cassini.

The apparent absence of spokes is thought to be related to the Sun's elevation angle above the ringplane, which currently is rather high. As summer wanes in the southern hemisphere, the Sun's angle will drop, and spoke viewing is expected to become more favorable.

In unlit-side views, the denser ring regions (and empty gaps) appear dark, while less populated and dustier ring regions appear bright.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 3, 2005, at a distance of approximately 781,000 kilometers (485,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 43 kilometers (27 miles) per pixel.

Background Info:

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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . For additional images visit the Cassini imaging team homepage http://ciclops.org .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Saturn Rings Saturn
System Saturn
Target Type Ring Planet
Mission Cassini-Huygens Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Voyager
Instrument Host Cassini Orbiter Hubble Space Telescope
Host Type Orbiter Flyby Spacecraft, Space Telescope
Instrument Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
Detector Wide Angle Camera
Extra Keywords Dust, Gap, Grayscale, Visual
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2005-08-31
Date in Caption 2005-08-03
Image Credit NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA07576
Identifier PIA07576