Image: Prometheus creates gores and streamers in Saturn's F ring

June 10, 2014
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

(Phys.org) —Prometheus is caught in the act of creating gores and streamers in the F ring. Scientists believe that Prometheus and its partner-moon Pandora are responsible for much of the structure in the F ring.

The orbit of Prometheus (53 miles, or 86 kilometers across) regularly brings it into the F . When this happens, it creates gores, or channels, in the ring where it entered. Prometheus then draws ring material with it as it exits the ring, leaving streamers in its wake. This process creates the pattern of structures seen in this image. This process is described in detail, along with a movie of Prometheus creating one of the streamer/channel features, in PIA08397.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 8.6 above the ringplane. The image was taken in with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 11, 2014.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 147 degrees. Image scale is 8 miles (13 kilometers) per pixel.

Explore further: Image: Rings around a crescent

Related Stories

Image: Rings around a crescent

November 23, 2010

A crescent Saturn appears nestled within encircling rings in this Cassini spacecraft image. Clouds swirl through the atmosphere of the planet and a barely visible Prometheus orbits between the planet's main rings and its ...

A ghostly 'ladder' in Saturn's F ring

June 3, 2013

Saturn's F ring is certainly a curious structure. Orbiting the giant planet 82,000 kilometers above its equatorial cloud tops, the F ring is a ropy, twisted belt of bright ice particles anywhere from 30-500 km wide. It can ...

Image: Prometheus sculpts Saturn's F ring

December 18, 2013

Saturn's moons create art on the canvas of Saturn's rings with gravity as their tool. Here Prometheus is seen sculpting the F ring while Daphnis (too small to discern in this image) raises waves on the edges of the Keeler ...

Image: Infrared image of Saturn's rings

January 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —Although it may look to our eyes like other images of the rings, this infrared image of Saturn's rings was taken with a special filter that will only admit light polarized in one direction. Scientists can use ...

Prometheus practices its pull

February 10, 2014

Lit by eerie, reflected light from Saturn's F ring (and a casting a faint shadow through a haze of icy "mist") Saturn's moon Prometheus can be seen in the raw image above, captured by Cassini's narrow-angle camera on Feb. ...

Image: The unilluminated side of Saturn's rings

April 30, 2014

(Phys.org) —Saturn's rings cast shadows on the planet, but the shadows appear to be inside out! The edge of Saturn's outermost A ring can be seen at the top left corner of the image. Moving towards the bottom of the page, ...

Recommended for you

Ceres image: The lonely mountain

August 25, 2015

NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers).

Dawn spacecraft sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 25, 2015

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

cantdrive85
1 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2014
Some would like to believe that the mechanisms of the rings are driven by gravity alone. Obviously they are not familiar with Kristian Birkeland's work over a century ago...

http://hal.archiv...C408.pdf

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.