Saturn’s dynamic F ring contains many different types of features to keep scientists perplexed. In this image we see features ring scientists call “gores,” to the right of the bright clump, and a “jet,” to the left of the bright spot.
Thanks to the ring’s interaction with the moons Prometheus and Pandora, and perhaps a host of smaller moonlets hidden in its core, the F ring is a constantly changing structure, with features that form, fade and re-appear on timescales of hours to days.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 7 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 15, 2015.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 295,000 miles (475,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-ring-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 117 degrees. Image scale is 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometers) per pixel.
The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.