Ghosts of Worlds Passed

Animation of Saturn's F ring and shepherd moons

Animation of Saturn’s F ring and shepherd moons

Saturn’s F ring is a fascinating structure. Made of fine icy particles — most no larger than the particulates found in cigarette smoke — it orbits Saturn just outside the A ring and is easily perturbed by the gravity of nearby moons and embedded moonlets, which create streamers and clumps that rise up in fanciful shapes.

This brief animation, made from 33 raw images captured by Cassini on December 26 (otherwise known locally as my birthday!) shows the F ring in action as it follows shepherd moons Prometheus and smaller Atlas around Saturn. Some motion is due to the orbits of the rings and moons, and some is due to the spacecraft itself.

You can watch a slower version of the animation below:

F-ring3

The outer edge of the A ring is at upper left.

Images: NASA/JPL/SSI. Animation by J. Major

About these ads

About JPMajor

Desktop astronomer, graphic designer and space news nut.

Posted on December 27, 2012, in Saturn's Moons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,457 other followers

%d bloggers like this: