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Reflected light from Saturn dimly illuminates the night side of the cratered moon Mimas in this Cassini image. Above, the outer edges of the planet’s main rings show some interesting details. Mimas is 398 kilometers (247 miles) across.
Several thin ringlets comprising the F ring are nicely visible here, and the bright core of the ring displays a few twisted knots. Perhaps less noticeable are kinks in one of the thin ringlets of material visible within the Encke Gap near the upper left corner. The outer edge of the A ring appears notably brighter than the ring material on the other side of the narrow Keeler Gap. Finally, numerous gravitational resonances give the A ring a grooved or striped appearance in this view.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Jan. 17, 2005, at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 7 kilometers (4 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute