The Ring Plane

Cassini looks at Saturn's ring plane. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Cassini looks at Saturn’s ring plane. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

A rather unique look at the ring-plane of Saturn. It appears we are looking at the F-ring to the right then the wide gap called the Roche Division. The light colored part is the A-ring with it’s Keeler
Gap. Keeler Gap is home to the moon Daphnis and the Cassini’s camera was pointed at Daphnis in this image. I cannot see the moon, however I can see the ripples in the ring caused by the moons gravity as it goes around. Look on the other side of the narrow Keeler Gap and you will notice a “ragged” look, those are the ripples.

The leftmost gap, is the Encke gap.

The Keeler gap looks pretty narrow and it is, being only 42 km (26 miles) across and little Daphnis keeps things in an orderly state, other then the ripples or waves it creates as it zips by.  Zips is a good description too, Daphnis makes a complete orbit in about 14 hours!.

Daphis is one of the more recent discoveries and was made by Cassini in 2005.

Mean radius: 3.8 km

Orbit radius: 136,505 km

Mass: 7.7 (+/-1.5) x 1013 kg

More about Saturn here.

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