PIA10554: Not-Quite-Empty Gap

 Not-Quite-Empty Gap

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The Encke Gap, the broad, vertical dark band running down the center of this image, is maintained by the small moon Pan (not pictured). Pan also shepherds three ringlets, all of which appear here as faint, narrow bands within the Encke Gap.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 19, 2008 at a distance of approximately 271,000 kilometers (168,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 138 degrees. Image scale is about 1 kilometer 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. PIA10554