NASA image: God of the Gap

Apr 21, 2014
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

(Phys.org) —Saturn's moon Pan, named for the Greek god of shepherds, rules over quite a different domain: the Encke gap in Saturn's rings.

Pan (17 miles, or 28 kilometers across) keeps the Encke gap open through its on the ring particles nearby.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 48 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 25, 2013.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers) from Pan and at a Sun-Pan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 87 degrees. Image scale is 9 miles (14 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Explore further: Image: Saturn's rings and hexagonal polar storm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Image: Saturn's rings and hexagonal polar storm

Feb 04, 2014

Just as Saturn's famous hexagonal shaped jet stream encircles the planet's north pole, the rings encircle the planet, as seen from Cassini's position high above. Around and around everything goes!

Image: Two moons passing in the night

Aug 01, 2013

(Phys.org) —The Saturn moons Mimas and Pandora remind us of how different they are when they appear together, as in this image taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Pandora's small size means that it lacks ...

Space Image: Welcome disruption

Jan 16, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- The line of Saturn's rings disrupts the Cassini spacecraft's view of the moons Tethys and Titan.

Cassini presents Saturn moon quintet

Sep 19, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- With the artistry of a magazine cover shoot, NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this portrait of five of Saturn's moons poised along the planet's rings.

Space image: Dione flyby

Jan 24, 2012

Saturn's moon Mimas peeks out from behind the night side of the larger moon Dione in this Cassini image captured during the spacecraft's Dec. 12, 2011, flyby of Dione.

Space Image: Beside a giant

Feb 29, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Saturn's largest moon, Titan, looks small here, pictured to the right of the gas giant in this Cassini spacecraft view.

Recommended for you

Exploring Mars in low Earth orbit

4 hours ago

In their quest to understand life's potential beyond Earth, astrobiologists study how organisms might survive in numerous environments, from the surface of Mars to the ice-covered oceans of Jupiter's moon, ...

Lifetime of gravity measurements heralds new beginning

6 hours ago

Although ESA's GOCE satellite is no more, all of the measurements it gathered during its life skirting the fringes our atmosphere, including the very last as it drifted slowly back to Earth, have been drawn ...

NASA's IceCube no longer on ice

10 hours ago

NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has chosen a team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to build its first Earth science-related CubeSat mission.

User comments : 0