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A close-up of the F ring shows dark gores in its interior faint ringlets following the passage of Prometheus. Each gore represents a single interaction of the moon with the F ring material. The gores shear out over successive orbits, becoming the long, curving features seen here.
The dark Keeler gap (42 kilometers, or 26 miles wide) is seen at right. The F ring core is similar in scale to the gap, at about 50 kilometers (30 miles) in width.
This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 31 degrees above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 25, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.7 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 162 degrees. Image scale is 10 kilometers (6 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 operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute