Astronomy Picture of the Day

Mimas, Rings, and Shadows

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#58343 by @ 03.12.2004 00:15 - nach oben -
Mimas, Rings, and Shadows


Caught in sunlight, icy moon
above a broad shadow across
gas giant Saturn.

In this
remarkable image
from the Cassini spacecraft, tiny Mimas is
at the upper right.

The broad shadow across the giant planet is cast by
Saturn's dense B ring
with intriguing threadlike shadows from Saturn's inner C ring
arrayed below.

While the B
and C rings
are otherwise not visible here,
the very narrow outer F ring lies toward
the bottom of the image as well as a section of
the partly transparent A ring and its 300 kilometer wide
Encke gap crisscrossing the ring shadows.

Sunlight streaming
through the much larger Cassini gap
that separates the A and B rings is responsible for the
bright band seen above Mimas.

The Cassini gap itself is just off the bottom of this cropped view.

Orbiting well beyond Saturn's F ring,
Mimas is a mere 400 kilometers in diameter.

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