Astronomy Picture of the Day

Ring Scan

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Ring Scan

Explanation: Scroll right and cruise above the thin, icy rings of Saturn. This high resolution scan is a mosaic of images presented in natural color and recorded in May, over about 2.5 hours as the Cassini spacecraft passed above the unlit side of the rings. The rings themselves are seen to be composed of many individual ringlets. To help track your progress, the rings are labeled below, along with the distance from the center of the gas giant in kilometers. Major ring gaps are labeled above. The alphabetical designation of Saturn's rings is historical and related to their order of discovery; rings A and B are the bright rings separated by the Cassini division. In order of increasing distance from Saturn, the seven main rings run D,C,B,A,F,G,E. (Faint, outer rings G and E are not imaged here.)

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