PIA10516: Maxwell’s That Ends Well

 Maxwell's That Ends Well

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In the Maxwell gap within Saturn’s C ring resides a narrow, eccentric ringlet of the same name. Astronomers are studying this ringlet to understand how it is maintained.

One possibility is that a small moon or two lurk in the gap. Cassini plans to search for any such moons.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 25, 2008 at a distance of approximately 876,000 kilometers (545,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 36 degrees. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 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. PIA10516