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Knots in Saturn's Rings.


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Saturn.
Saturn's Rings.

Cassini took this image of the Encke Gap in Saturn's Rings. It's a small division 300 km (190 miles) wide near the outer edge of the rings. A tiny Moon called Pan orbits within this region, maintains the gap, and ties the particles into this knotted shape with its gravity. The image was taken while Cassini was 807,000 km (501,000 miles) away from Saturn.

An intriguing knotted ringlet within the Encke Gap is the main attraction in this Cassini image. The Encke Gap is a small division near the outer edge of Saturn's rings that is about 300 kilometers (190 miles) wide. The tiny Moon Pan (20 kilometers, or 12 miles across) orbits within the gap and maintains it. Many waves produced by orbiting moons are visible.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Oct. 29, 2004, at a distance of about 807,000 kilometers (501,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 4.5 kilometers (2.8 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 Cassini-Huygens 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.




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