Pan and Waves

Pan and Saturn's rings
July 8, 2013
PIA NumberPIA14668
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The shepherd moon Pan orbits Saturn in the Encke gap while the A ring surrounding the gap displays wave features created by interactions between the ring particles and Saturnian moons.

Pan (17 miles, or 28 kilometers across) maintains the Encke gap through gravitational interactions with ring particles. The wave features in the A ring are generated through interactions between ring particles and moons such as Pan.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 34 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 11, 2013.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 240,000 miles (386,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 111 degrees. Image scale is 1 mile (2 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 in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit or . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at .

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute