Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now Join Now!

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

   Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Mimas, Prometheus, and the rings

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

10-12-2008 14:11 CST

Topics:

I'm almost entirely cut off from the world today -- by which I mean my home Internet access is down. And the wireless network at my local public library is down. So I'm using a terminal at the library with a horrible sticky keyboard. Which means it's not going to be a productive day. The best thing for me to post on this kind of day is go look for a pretty picture and share it with you. So, I wandered to the Photojournal and decided that my favorite recent image is this one taken by Cassini, happening to capture two of the moons of Saturn, Mimas and Prometheus, against a dim backdrop of rings (the rings are usually pretty much the brightest things in an image, so I am guessing we must be looking at the north or shadowed side). Pretty, huh?

Saturn's rings, Prometheus, and Mimas

NASA / JPL / SSI

Saturn's rings, Prometheus, and Mimas
Here, the Cassini orbiter caught a simultaneous view of Saturn's rings and two bodies that strongly influence the rings' patterns. The round moon is Mimas, the mid-sized Saturnian moon that orbits closest to the planet. Mimas has a relatively inclined and eccentric orbit; its orbital plane tips 1.5 degrees up from the plane of the rings. The gravitational influence of Mimas sweeps clean the Cassini division between the A and B rings, while the up-and-down forces exerted by its inclination create other types of spiral waves within the rings. The small potato-shaped moon is Prometheus. Prometheus is a shepherd of the narrow F ring, and, along with its outer partner Pandora, keeps the F ring confined into its bands. However, Prometheus has an eccentric orbit, which occasionally causes it to wander into the F ring proper and then back out, clearing out lanes of dust.
Hopefully Time Warner will give me some love soon and I'll be properly reconnected with the world.

 
See other posts from December 2008

 

Or read more blog entries about:

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

NGC 6365

M29
Globular cluster M4
Caprock and sand ripples, Curiosity sol 679
More Images

Fly to an Asteroid!

Travel to Bennu on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft!

Send your name

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!