A bright disruption spotted by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in Saturn’s narrow F ring suggests it may have been disturbed recently. This feature was mostly likely not caused by Pandora (81 kilometres or 50 miles across) which lurks nearby, at lower right. More likely, it was created by the interaction of a small object embedded in the ring itself and material in the core of the ring. Scientists sometimes refer to these features as “jets.”
Because these bodies are small and embedded in the F ring itself, they are difficult to spot at the resolution available to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Instead, their handiwork reveals their presence, and scientists use the Cassini spacecraft to study these stealthy sculptors of the F ring.
This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 15 above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on 8 April 2016.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometres (1.4 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 105 degrees. Image scale is 13 kilometres (8 miles) per pixel.
Saturn: Exploring the Ringed Planet
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