Cassini captures image of Saturn's moon Prometheus near F Ring

NASA's Cassini space probe sent back an image from Saturn showing its gauzy F ring with tiny moon Prometheus.
By Kathy Fey | Aug 09, 2017
The Cassini space probe continues to send intriguing pictures of Saturn and its rings and moons.

NASA published the latest image of one of Saturn's satellites beamed from Cassini to Earth. The image shows Saturn's faint F ring cradling the moon Prometheus. The F ring appears wispy and mostly translucent due to its gravitational interactions with the nearby moon.

Prometheus is a diminutive satellite, measuring just 53 miles across. Because of the angle of the lighting visible from Cassini's vantage point, the moon appears just as a sliver in the new image.

Also visible in the image is a section of Saturn's A ring, which varies in brightness from its outermost arc to the gap at its inside border.

Cassini took the photo from the sunlit side of the rings from around 13 degrees above the ring plane at a distance of about 680,000 miles. The space probe used its narrow-angle camera and visible light to capture the image.

The Cassini mission is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI). Cassini completed its initially planned four-year study of the Saturn System in June 2008 and has continued with mission extensions studying Saturn's moons and rings ever more closely.

Cassini began its orbit of the F ring on Nov. 29, 2016, and started diving between the innermost rings and Saturn's cloud-covered surface in April 2017, collecting images and other data. Cassini will take a final controlled plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017, to complete its groundbreaking 20-year mission.

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