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The Ring Sculptor
September 8, 2006
Prometheus zooms across the Cassini spacecraft’s field of view, attended by faint streamers and deep gores in Saturn’s F ring. This movie sequence of five images shows the F ring shepherd moon shaping the ring’s inner edge.
Note that the faint ringlet coincident with the orbit of Prometheus (102 kilometers, or 63 miles across) decreases sharply in brightness behind the moon in its path. The normally twisted-looking F ring core is overexposed in the images, causing its appearance to be more uniform than it usually is.
The images were taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow- angle camera on Aug. 11, 2006, at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 162 degrees. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 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.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute