Dark Shadows

A sliver of a shadow, thousands of miles long, slices into the twilight side of Saturn’s rings and drifts off the edge of the A ring in this 8-frame animation. (Click the image to play.) As well as the motion of the moon shadow, thicker sections of the F ring can be seen moving along…

Ripples Have Ridges

  Another great image showing Saturn’s moon Daphnis sending up high-walled waves in the ring material edging the Keeler Gap in which it resides. The waves cast shadows back onto the A ring, as does the moon itself. This image was taken on May 24, 2009 by the Cassini spacecraft. RAW image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Capturing Pan’s Shadow

  Cassini took this photo yesterday, May 9th, as 16-mile-wide shepherd moon Pan passed along its path through the Encke Gap. Its shadow falls upon the A ring, pointing toward Saturn. (I colored the image to approximate visible light coloration based on other true-color calibrations. The original raw image can be seen here.) Pan is…

Shadow Facts

  A moon’s shadow falls upon ring after ring in this image, taken on April 29 by Cassini.  Varying brightnesses and compositions of ring segments scatter light differently, as shown above. With Saturn’s spring equinox (August 11) getting closer every day, the ringplane – and orbital plane of many of its moons – are approaching a perpendicular…

Following a Moon Shadow

  I assembled this animation from 20 separate raw images, taken by Cassini on April 9th. It follows the elongated shadow of a moon, most likely Epimetheus (not officially specified), across the tops of Saturn’s rings. Beginning on the bright B ring the shadow moves across it, over the darker bands of the Cassini division,…

Crossing the Gap

  These  6 frames made up of raw images from Cassini’s narrow-angle camera show the shadow of a moon – Epimetheus, perhaps? – drifting across the Encke Gap, a 200-mile-wide channel in Saturn’s A ring kept clear by the shepherd moon Pan. The central median ringlet is just visible in these images. With Saturn approaching…

The Shadows of Spring

  As Saturn’s springtime approaches on August 11 it is gradually moving into a position when its rings will be perfectly aligned with its orbital plane, causing them to be lit by the sun edge-on. During the months until then many of the moons of Saturn will be casting their shadows upon the rings, fleeting…