Rings and Waves

Saturn's rings and Daphnis
September 30, 2013
PIA NumberPIA17130
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Saturn's A ring is decorated with several kinds of waves. Here the Cassini spacecraft has captured a host of density waves, a bending wave (in the upper-right corner), and the edge waves on the edge of the Keeler gap caused by the small moon Daphnis. Daphnis itself appears as a tiny dot in the middle of the Keeler gap.

See Two Kinds of Wave for a closer look at bending and density waves and to learn more about them. For more on the edge waves caused by Daphnis, see Wave Shadows in Motion .

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 41 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 28, 2013.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 777,000 miles (1.3 million kilometers) from Daphnis and at a Sun-Daphnis-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 76 degrees. Image scale is 5 miles (8 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 http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov or http://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute