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Images taken during the Cassini spacecraft’s orbital insertion on June 30 show definite compositional variation within the rings.
This image shows, from left to right, the outer portion of the C ring and inner portion of the B ring. The B ring begins a little more than halfway across the image. The general pattern is from “dirty” particles indicated by red to cleaner ice particles shown in turquoise in the outer parts of the rings.
The ring system begins from the inside out with the D, C, B and A rings followed by the F, G and E rings.
This image was taken with the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph instrument, which is capable of resolving the rings to show features up to 97 kilometers (60 miles) across, roughly 100 times the resolution of ultraviolet data obtained by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph was built at, and the team is based at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Colorado