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Cassini scientists continue their quest to understand the origin and evolution of the newly discovered features observed in Saturn’s A ring which have become known as “propellers.” In this image, the propeller which scientists have dubbed “Earhart” (at the lower left of the image) has been re-acquired.
Scientists hope to understand how the bodies which generate the features – themselves too small to be seen, yet significantly larger than a typical ring particle – move around the ring over time. It is hoped that these features may provide insights about how forming planets move around their solar systems. For more on Earhart, see PIA12790.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 48 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 11, 2013.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 99 degrees. Image scale is 1 mile (2 kilometers) 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-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Image Addition Date: 2013-08-19