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This is a computer simulation of the final stage of the growth of a “clump” in Saturn’s rings. The gravity from a hypothesized moonlet (solid gray sphere in frame center) has collected smaller ring particles (black) to form a temporary aggregation. The particles shown in the simulation are from centimeters to meters (inches to yards) across. The gray moonlet is 61 meters (200 feet) across.
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 was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The ultraviolet imaging spectrograph was designed and built at, and the team is based at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Colorado