Propeller Belts of Saturn
|Credit||NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute|
This view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft is the sharpest ever taken of belts of the features called propellers in the middle part of Saturn's A ring.
The propellers are the small, bright features that look like double dashes, visible on both sides of the wave pattern that crosses the image diagonally from top to bottom.
This image, for the first time, shows swarms of propellers of a wide range of sizes, putting the ones Cassini observed in its Saturn arrival images in context. Scientists will use this information to derive a “particle size distribution” for propeller moons, which is an important clue to their origins.
This region was also featured in PIA21059.
The image was taken using the Cassini spacecraft's narrow-angle camera on April 19. The view was has an image scale of 0.24 mile (385 meters) per pixel, and was taken at a sun-ring-spacecraft angle, or phase angle, of 108 degrees. The view looks toward a point approximately 80,000 miles (129,000 kilometers) from Saturn’s center.
The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. 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, Colorado.