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This view of Saturn’s outer C ring shows the extreme variations in brightness, along with the subtle, large-scale wavy variations discovered 24 years ago by NASA’s Voyager spacecraft. The notably dark Maxwell gap (near upper right) contains the bright, narrow and eccentric Maxwell ringlet, a Saturnian analog of the narrow Uranian epsilon ring. The gap also contains another very faint ringlet newly discovered by Cassini.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Oct. 29, 2004, at a distance of 838,000 (521,000 miles) from Saturn. The center of this view shows an area located approximately 81,300 kilometers (50,500 miles) from the planet. The image scale is 4.6 kilometers (2.9 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