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God of the Gap: Pan keeps Encke gap open in Saturn's rings

Date:
April 21, 2014
Source:
NASA
Summary:
Saturn's moon Pan, named for the Greek god of shepherds, rules over quite a different domain: the Encke gap in Saturn's rings. Pan keeps the Encke gap open through its gravitational influence on the ring particles nearby.

Rings of Saturn and the moon Pan.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Saturn's moon Pan, named for the Greek god of shepherds, rules over quite a different domain: the Encke gap in Saturn's rings.

Pan (17 miles, or 28 kilometers across) keeps the Encke gap open through its gravitational influence on the ring particles nearby.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 48 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 25, 2013.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers) from Pan and at a Sun-Pan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 87 degrees. Image scale is 9 miles (14 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, 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, D.C. 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, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "God of the Gap: Pan keeps Encke gap open in Saturn's rings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140421103759.htm>.
NASA. (2014, April 21). God of the Gap: Pan keeps Encke gap open in Saturn's rings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140421103759.htm
NASA. "God of the Gap: Pan keeps Encke gap open in Saturn's rings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140421103759.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

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