Thursday, February 02, 2017

Yet Another Stunner

It's difficult to get a sense of scale when viewing Saturn's rings, but the Cassini Division (seen here between the bright B ring and dimmer A ring) is almost as wide as the planet Mercury. (See A Full Sweep of Saturn's Rings for a labeled panorama of features in the rings.)

This natural color mosaic, taken from 10 degrees below the illuminated side of the rings, shows, from left to right, radially outward from Saturn, the C ring (with its Colombo and Maxwell gaps); the B ring and the Cassini division beyond, with the intervening Huygens gap; the A ring (with its Encke and Keeler gaps); and, on the far right, the narrow F ring. The total span covers approximately 65,700 kilometers (40,800 miles)

Glorious is it not? Had to add one more. :)

The view here is of the outer edge of the B ring, at left, which is perturbed by the most powerful gravitational resonance in the rings: the "2:1 resonance" with the icy moon Mimas. This means that, for every single orbit of Mimas, the ring particles at this specific distance from Saturn orbit the planet twice. This results in a regular tugging force that perturbs the particles in this location.

To boldly go ... :)

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