Splinters of Rings

Saturn's rings, Epimetheus and Helene
December 28, 2009
PIA NumberPIA12514
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Saturn's shadow interrupts the planet's rings, leaving just thin slivers of the rings visible in this image, which shows a pair of the planet's small moons.

This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane. Most of the main rings are darkened by the shadow of the planet, which stretches across the center of the image, but the thin F ring can be seen extending across more of the image. Helene (33 kilometers, or 21 miles across) is in the center top of the image. Epimetheus (113 kilometers, or 70 miles across) is in the lower right.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 7, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.6 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Helene. Image scale is 15 kilometers (9 miles) 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute