Daphnis Makes Waves

daphnis-wavesDaphnis is one of Saturns small moons that is embedded in the Keeler gap in the ring system. This  image from Cassini shows it kicking up waves as it orbits.

Daphnis is only about 8 km across, but its gravity is powerful enough to disrupt the particles  near the edge of the A ring at the Keeler gap’s edge. Wave-like features form as the moon moves along.

Image Credit: NASA

The F Ring

f-ringWhen seen in closeup as in this recent image taken by the Cassini spacecraft, Saturn’s F resolves into multiple dusty strands. This view shows three bright strands and a fainter fourth strand on the right.

The bright center strand is the actual core of the F ring. If the view were from farther out, it would show that the other strands are not independent but are sections of long spirals of material that wrap around the core as they all circle Saturn. It’s thought that the material in the spirals may have been dragged out from the F ring’s core during encounters with a small moon.

Image Credit: NASA

Chaotic Hyperion

hyperion20161206Saturn’s moon Hyperion tumbles as it orbits the planet. Hyperion’s 270 km long spin axis has a chaotic orientation in time, meaning that it is essentially impossible to predict how the moon will be spinning in the future. It’s one of a very few known bodies with such chaotic spins.

Image Credit: NASA


prometheusPrometheus is one of the small shepherd moons associated with Saturn’s rings. Surface features on the tiny moon are visible in this image from the Cassini spacecraft. Most images of Prometheus are taken from too far away to show individual craters. Click the image to embiggen it.

Image Credit: NASA

Ring Details

ring-detailsSaturn’s rings are made up of many smaller ringlets that blur together when seen from a distance, but when imaged up close, their structures show a wide range of variation. Ring scientists are debating the nature of these features—whether they have always appeared this way or whether they have evolved over time.

Image Credit: NASA