Advertisements

A Fan of Shadows

Clumped material in Saturn's F ring casts a spread of linear shadows

Cassini captured this visible-light image on October 16, 2010, showing a thick clump of icy material in Saturn’s bright F ring casting a “fan” of thin shadows. Clumps like this have been seen many times before and may be caused by the gravitational effects of passing shepherd moons like Prometheus or as-of-yet undiscovered moonlets within the ropy rings themselves.

Click here to see how the 63-mile-wide Prometheus can pull streamers of the F ring away as it dips in and out along the course of its scalloped orbit.

Positioned just outside the extreme outer edge of Saturn’s A ring system, the F ring is made up of very bright particles of ice loosely organized into ropy strands and transient clumps. It ranges anywhere from 20 to 300 miles wide.

Image: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute

Advertisements

About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on May 19, 2011, in Saturn and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Have an opinion about this? Leave a comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: