Out of the Shadows

KeelerGap

A stunning image by Cassini, received today, of Daphnis splashing through the Keeler Gap (as seen in my last post).

In this photo the sunlight is coming from the opposite direction though.

Saturn’s massive shadow falls upon the rings on the right side of this image. Background stars can be seen through the rings.

From this perspective, the waves just behind Daphnis seem to be cresting higher than the moon itself…perhaps 5 miles above the rings. All I can think is, what an incredible sight it would be to be closer down to the rings and see the moon come flying past, sending up a wake of material behind it like a jet-skier down a river. Incredible.

And beautiful.

Raw image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Advertisements

4 Comments

  1. Gordan says:

    There has to be a point when these waves and their shadows will be “maximally” photogenic and we could be approaching that point. Further on, the increasingly lower solar angle will make the rings even dimmer so the wave shadows will be less pronounced, albeit much longer.

    If only we could get the above shot shot in 3x or higher resolution, it’d probably be THE Cassini image of 2009.

    Like

    1. J. Major says:

      Gordan: I totally agree. I’d love to be able to “enhance” these images like they do on TV crime shows! While I love the wide-angle scale, it would be great to have more pixel detail too to zoom in.

      Who would have thought that a tiny 4-mile-wide moon hidden in the rings would have given us some of the most dynamic images from the Saturn system? It’s quite a nice surprise, but just one of many more to come, I’m sure.

      I’d love to see what you could do with these images once you get your paws on the raw data files. 😉

      Like

      1. Gordan says:

        “Who would have thought that a tiny 4-mile-wide moon hidden in the rings would have given us some of the most dynamic images from the Saturn system?”

        And a moon we didn’t even know *existed* before Cassini arrived!

        Like

  2. J. Major says:

    After reviewing the original images again, I think I have it backwards….Daphnis is actually going TOWARD the shadowed part of the rings, and the large waves are being cast up ahead of the moon. The brighter material is trailing behind it. My bad.

    Like

Comments are closed.