Pan’s Wake near the Encke Gap

Pan's Wake near the Encke Gap

Full-Res GIF (45.2 kB)


This synthesized images shows fine structure around the Encke Gap in Saturn’s outer A Ring. The regular stripes inward from the ring (right) are caused by the gravitational shepherding of the tiny embedded moon Pan. In fact, it was the analysis of this data set, combined with others, that made it possible first to predict the existence of Pan and then to detect it in the Voyager images. The fainter ringlet in the middle of the gap (in red) probably consists of dust escaping off the surface of Pan and stabilized by Pan’s gravity. This image has a resolution of about 1 km.