Stunning Rings and Two Moons

Saturns rings and two moons. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Saturns rings and two moons. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

A stunning image of Saturn’s rings. There are two moons in this image too, the larger of the two is obvious and is Epimetheus and the other is Daphnis.

Daphnis is a wee moon being only 8 km / 5 mi. and is very difficult to see unless you click the image to get the larger view. Look just to the right of center and in the rings just to the inside of the (Keeler) gap.

More about Saturn.

Before you read the NASA supplied caption below, I wanted to let you know there are TWO different launches today and they are only a short time apart from each other:

1. The Progress 53 cargo ship is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 20:53 UTC (15:53 EST) The coverage should be here: Update:  Launched,

2. A SpaceX launch is scheduled for 22:45 UTC (17:45 EST). The flight will put the SES-8 communications into a geostationary orbit from Cape Canaveral Florida USA. Coverage: Update: A delay due to an issue, next attempt not before Thursday.  The delay came around T minus 3 minutes 40 seconds.  I could not get back to the time and a news release with more info is still in the works.


Here’s the caption from NASA (link goes to much larger versions of the image):

Amidst and Beyond the Rings

While the moon Epimetheus passes by, beyond the edge of Saturn’s main rings, the tiny moon Daphnis carries on its orbit within the Keeler gap of the A ring. Although quite different in size, both moons create waves in the rings thanks to their gravitational influences.

Epimetheus (70 miles, or 113 kilometers across) is visible at the lower-right of the image, and Daphnis (5 miles, or 8 kilometers across) is barely visible at one pixel wide just below-right of the image center. A close inspection of the image also reveals the waves Daphnis creates on the edges of the Keeler gap.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 2.6 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 28, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 808,000 miles (1.3 million kilometers) from Daphnis and at a Sun-Daphnis-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 28 degrees. Image scale is 5 miles (8 kilometers) 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 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 operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

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