Cassini Views a Disruption in Saturn’s Narrow F Ring

Cassini Views a Disruption in Saturn's Ring

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft captures a small disruption in Saturn’s F ring; which was likely caused by the interaction of a small object embedded in the ring itself and material in the core of the ring.

A bright disruption in Saturn’s narrow F ring suggests it may have been disturbed recently. This feature was mostly likely not caused by Pandora (50 miles or 81 kilometers across) which lurks nearby, at lower right. More likely, it was created by the interaction of a small object embedded in the ring itself and material in the core of the ring. Scientists sometimes refer to these features as “jets.”

Because these bodies are small and embedded in the F ring itself, they are difficult to spot at the resolution available to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Instead, their handiwork reveals their presence, and scientists use the Cassini spacecraft to study these stealthy sculptors of the F ring.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 15 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 8, 2016.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.4 million miles (2.2 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 105 degrees. Image scale is 8 miles (13 kilometers) per pixel.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

3 Comments on "Cassini Views a Disruption in Saturn’s Narrow F Ring"

  1. What’s the missing unit in the phrase “from about 15 above the ring plane”? What’s so hard about the writers (editors?) always proofreading SciTech Daily’s articles? (And why don’t they ever respond to readers’ comments?)

    Oh, and how can the perturbing “small object” be embedded in the F ring itself when it appears to be clearly outside of the ring?

    • The typo was in the press release from NASA…they haven’t specified what the missing unit is in that phrase. Sorry

      “This feature was mostly likely not caused by Pandora (50 miles or 81 kilometers across) which lurks nearby, at lower right. More likely, it was created by the interaction of a small object embedded in the ring itself and material in the core of the ring.”

    • I read it to mean 15 degrees. I would assume 0 degrees would be the ring plane (equator). 15 degrees would be 15 degrees latitude w.r.t. Saturn looking straight down at the rings.

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