Arc in the Tenuous G Ring
This sequence of images shows a faint arc of material in Saturn's G ring,
a tenuous ring outside the main ring system. These images were each taken
about 45 minutes apart. During this time, the arc (slightly brighter than the ring
itself) moves around the outer edge of the ring.
The arc is visible on the lower part of the ring in the first image, just beneath
the ansa (or outer edge). In the second image the arc is easily seen on the
outer edge, and then faintly just above the outer edge in the third image.
What makes this part of the G ring brighter than other parts is not clear.
However, the existence of this arc might hold clues about how this ring
was formed and where the material which makes up this ring comes from.
These three images were taken in polarized near-infrared light using the
Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 24, 2005, at a distance
of approximately 1.7 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Saturn.
Resolution in the original images was about 97 kilometers (60 miles) per
pixel. The images have been contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.
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 was designed, developed and assembled at JPL.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
For additional images visit the Cassini imaging team homepage http://ciclops.org.
courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
image id: PIA07718