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The gravity of Prometheus alters the orbits of the fine, icy particles in Saturn’s F ring, creating dazzling structures like those seen here.
Each of these diagonal features, called “streamer-channels” by ring scientists, represents a single close approach of Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) to the inner edge of the ring.
This observation was optimized to show faint details in the F ring, leaving Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across, at bottom) overexposed.
The view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 15 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 30, 2008. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (751,000 miles) from Saturn. 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 operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute