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Shadows on the rings…

The CASSINI probe has been returning some rather nice images recently, showing the shadows of some of Saturn’s being cast on the rings. Images like these…

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The shadows are the long, tapering dark features on the bright rings. Those images by themselves are pretty amazing. But one of my fellow UMSF members, Floyd, spotted something even more amazing on this picture, one of the most recent raw images… click on this picture to bring up a full size version…

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Can you see that one of the rings, near the centre, has a rather raggedy edge? That must be wrong, right? An imaging artefact of some kind, dust on the lens or something… right? Well, let’s zoom in on that…

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Nope, those are real features on the rings – specifically, the shadows of thousands and thousands of tiny moonlets embedded in the ring! Wow! That has to be one of the highest resolution – and most important – images ever taken of the rings; the Cassini scientists will be able to figure out all sorts of info by measuring and studying those shadows.

For a long time we’ve speculated that Saturn’s rings would look a bit like this, close up…

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Looks like we have our first genuine photo of particles – or at least the shadows of particles – within Saturn’s rings… 🙂

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the beautiful pictures Stu – AMAZING! I love Cassini! 😀
    I’m sure you’ve seen it but just in case you haven’t, Emily has a good article on this on the Planetary Soc. Weblog

  2. As we are all discussing Shadows on the rings… Cumbrian Sky, There is an awesome range of tungsten jewelry these days. Most of them are available in various types, supplying people having a lot of options. And from these selections, you get to opt for 1 that will fit your wants. Should you be in search of a great tungsten carbide ring, what you should do is pick one that has a balanced design. This means all of the components inside the ring really should be symmetrical. Despite the fact that one can find various components within the jewelry, there should certainly be a thing that balances them.

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