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This close-up of the lit side of Saturn’s outer B ring and the Cassini Division looks something like a phonograph record. There are subtle, wavelike patterns, hundreds of narrow features resembling a record’s ‘grooves’ and a noticeable abrupt change in overall brightness beyond the dark gap near the right. To the left of the gap is the outer B ring with its sharp edge maintained by a strong gravitational resonance with the moon Mimas. To the right of the Huygens Gap are the plateau-like bands of the Cassini Division. The narrow ringlet within the gap is called the Huygens ringlet.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Oct. 29, 2004, at a distance of about 819,000 (509,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 4.5 kilometers (2.8 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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, 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.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute