The rings on the planet go 'round and 'round...

December 24, 2012 by Jason Major, Universe Today
Raw wide-angle Cassini image of Saturn’s rings (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Recently I posted an image of two of Saturn's shepherd moons, Pandora and Prometheus, captured by Cassini in a face-off across the spindly F ring. Now here's a much wider-angle view of the gas giant's rings, seen by Cassini two days later on December 20, and the same two moons can still be seen staring each other down… two tiny points of light visible across the wavering line of the F ring at lower center.

This is just one raw image in a series of 56 that Cassini captured on the 20th, and I've combined them together to make a GIF animation—click below to watch:

Animation of Saturn’s rings made from raw images acquired by Cassini on Dec. 20, 2012 (NASA/JPL/SSI. Animation by J. Major

In the animation you can see Pandora and Prometheus promenade around Saturn (detail at right) as well as a "spoke" of light material moving within the inner dark edge of the A ring. Also many clumps are visible in the thin F ring—caused by embedded moonlets and the of the shepherd moons.

Saturn's enormous shadow engulfs the entire ring system at the top of the scene.

Cassini was moving relative to Saturn while these images were captured so some background stars make brief appearances, as well as a couple of pixel flares and a hit. These are common in Cassini images.

See more news and images from the here.

Explore further: Image: Prometheus Plays Tug of War with One of Saturn's Rings

Related Stories

Image: Closest Dione flyby

January 23, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Flying past Saturn's moon Dione, Cassini captured this view which includes two smaller moons, Epimetheus and Prometheus, near the planet's rings.

Saturn's B-ring: Taking a closer look

September 11, 2012

(Phys.org)—Clumpy particles in Saturn's B-ring provide stark contrast to the delicately ordered ringlets seen in the rest of this view presented by the Cassini spacecraft.

Saturn shows off its shadow

September 21, 2012

Take a look up at the enormous shadow cast by Saturn onto its own rings in this raw image, acquired by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on September 18, 2012.

Saturn's fluctuating F ring

November 20, 2012

Released today, this image acquired by NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows some interesting structures forming within Saturn's thinnest but most dynamic ring.

Shepherd Moon face-off!

December 21, 2012

Two of Saturn's shepherd moons face off across the icy strand of the F ring in this image, acquired by the Cassini spacecraft on December 18, 2012.

Recommended for you

The search for molecular oxygen among cosmic oxygen atoms

July 27, 2015

Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe (after hydrogen and helium) and of course it is important: all known life forms require liquid water and its oxygen content. For over thirty years, astronomers have ...

Hubble looks in on a galactic nursery

July 27, 2015

This dramatic image shows the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's view of dwarf galaxy known as NGC 1140, which lies 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Eridanus. As can be seen in this image NGC 1140 has an ...

Fossil star clusters reveal their age

July 27, 2015

Using a new age-dating method, an international team of astronomers has determined that ancient star clusters formed in two distinct epochs – the first 12.5 billion years ago and the second 11.5 billion years ago.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

El_Nose
not rated yet Dec 24, 2012
i withdraw my comment -- click the picture to watch the gif
Anda
not rated yet Dec 24, 2012
Amazing... and difficult to see

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.