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Variations in ring particle concentration give Saturn’s brilliant rings the appearance of ripples in a pond in this close-up view. Many of the gaps and wavelike patterns elsewhere in the rings are due to the gravitational influence of Saturn’s moons, but the origin of much of the structure in the B ring seen here is still unexplained.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Oct. 29, 2004, at a distance of approximately 824,000 kilometers (512,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) per pixel. The image has been slightly contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.
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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute