PIA09845: Pan in the Fast Lane

Pan in the Fast Lane


Two of Saturn's ring moons are captured in this Cassini spacecraft view, along with the signature of another. This image was taken not long after Prometheus passed, leaving a trail of dark gores in the inner edge of the F ring.

Pan (26 kilometers, or 16 miles across) orbits Saturn about 4,090 kilometers (2,540 miles) closer than Atlas (32 kilometers, or 20 miles across), meaning that Pan orbits faster, always overtaking its slower moving sibling.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 25 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 23, 2008. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from both moons. Image scale is 11 kilometers (7 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 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/home/index.cfm . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Saturn Rings Atlas, F Ring, Pan, Prometheus, Saturn
System Saturn
Target Type Ring Planet, Satellite
Mission Cassini-Huygens
Instrument Host Cassini Orbiter
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
Detector Narrow Angle Camera
Extra Keywords Grayscale
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2008-02-26
Date in Caption 2008-01-23
Image Credit NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA09845
Identifier PIA09845