Groovy

Concentric ringlets within Saturn’s wide B-ring create a mesmerizing pattern in this raw image from the Cassini spacecraft, taken on January 11. Click for a full-size version; for me, looking at the bright ringlets too long can have a disorienting effect.

Nearly 16,000 miles wide, the B ring system is estimated to be less than 30 feet thick, although the exact height of the many ridges isn’t known. Many of what seem to be individual ringlets are actually part of a single ring that spirals inwards, just like the grooves on a vinyl record.

This image has been rotated 90º to the left from the original.

Correction: this is a section of the 9100-mile-wide A ring, just inside the Encke gap.

Image: NASA/JPL/SSI

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About Jason Major

Desktop astronomer, graphic designer and space news nut.

Posted on January 12, 2010, in Saturn and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. A “colorized” cropped version made from the red, green, and blue-filtered Cassini raw images (although my color balance may be off) can be found here:

    Saturn-ring-resonances-closeup-Jan-11-2010-

    I believe this feature may be in the A-ring, just inside of the Encke Gap.

    -Mike

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