Bruce Murray Space Image Library

How far down does Saturn's D ring go?

How far down does Saturn's D ring go?
How far down does Saturn's D ring go? An observation of the shadowed side of Saturn's taken by Cassini on 2 September 2010 was designed to see just how far the dusty D ring extends toward the planet. The sensitive camera exposed this image for 1.2 seconds in order to see the faint D ring, overexposing the outermost F ring. (Typical Cassini image exposure lengths to see moons and planet are tens to a few hundred milliseconds.) The set of observations showed that Cassini needed to pass within 2000 kilometers of the planet's cloud tops in order to be reasonably safe from D ring dust. NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / Emily Lakdawalla

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