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A bright narrow ring dominates this view of the Cassini Division separating Saturn’s A and B rings.
The brightest ringlet in this image has been spotted by Cassini before, and is known to be eccentric. And to the right of the division, an incomplete arc of bright material scores the edge of the outer B ring, a region markedly disturbed and shaped by the action of a strong gravitational resonance with the moon Mimas. Cassini scientists are presently investigating the shape and behavior of outer B ring, including the feature seen here, to understand how rings respond to strong external perturbations.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 3 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 25, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 822,000 kilometers (511,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 154 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.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute