PIA09891: Ring Escort

 Ring Escort

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Pandora loops around Saturn, confining the narrow F ring as it goes. Craters are visible on the moon’s surface in this view.

See PIA07632 for a closer view of Pandora (84 kilometers, or 52 miles across).

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 40 degrees above the ringplane. The outer edge of the A ring and its Keeler Gap are at upper right. A background star is seen here, just left of the F ring.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 20, 2008. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.3 million kilometers (786,000 miles) from Pandora and at a Sun-Pandora-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 56 degrees. Image scale is 8 kilometers (5 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. PIA09891