If you’ve been following along with Lights in the Dark since the beginning, you may know that this is one of my favorite subjects of space imagery: the shepherd moon Daphnis, traveling in its orbit around Saturn within the 26-mile-wide Keeler Gap. Recently color-calibrated by Gordan Ugarvovic, this is a true-color version of an image captured by Cassini on July 5, 2010. It was Cassini’s closest approach to the 4.5-mile-wide moon.
What makes Daphnis so interesting is its effect on the edges of the gap. As it travels its gravity affects the icy bits of ring material, churning them up into waves and scalloped edges before and behind it. These waves can rise up considerably into peaks and valleys, some reaching over a mile or two above the ring plane! Now that would be quite a dramatic sight to see close-up!
This is a great color version of an image I posted about shortly after it was first acquired. A new image from Gordan is always a treat!
Image: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute / Gordan Ugarkovic