Sunday Best

Daphnis really churns it up
Daphnis really churns it up

Another fantastic image of one of my favorite subjects from the Cassini mission: the little shepherd moon Daphnis and its icy wake within the Keeler gap.

This is an adjusted version of a raw image taken Saturday, July 11, and received at the imaging center in Boulder, CO later the same day. See the original here.

Detail
Detail

Daphnis’ waves in the edges of the gap are dramatically lit by the low-angle sunlight here, showcasing their semi-transparent nature and high reflectivity at the same time. Also visible is a nice little “swoosh”, the tug of Daphnis’ gravitational pull on the icy particles, just behind the little moon.

When I first looked at the raw image, I thought that it might be showing the larger wave just before the moon dipping below the ringplane, from Cassini’s perspective. Because of the shadows, I don’t think that’s what we’re looking at anymore but I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. The light is coming in at a pretty low angle to tell exactly. If that is indeed the case, and it’s noted, I’ll be sure to update this post accordingly.

It’s a wonderful view, either way.

Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

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