PIA09782: Braided Channels

 Braided Channels

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Seen here is the end result of the process that occurs every time the moon Prometheus closely approaches Saturn’s F ring. The moon cuts a dark channel in the ring’s inner edge that then shears out over successive orbits, giving the inner edge of the ring the grooved appearance seen here.

This process is described in detail, along with a movie of Prometheus creating one of the streamer/channel features, in PIA08397.

The view is toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 3 degrees below the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 25, 2007. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 624,000 kilometers (388,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-ring-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 23 degrees. Image scale is 3 kilometers (2 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at ciclops.org.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Source: NASA’s Planetary Photojournal: Image No. PIA09782