FEB 03, 2017 09:20 AM PST

Cassini Grabs Pictures of 'Waves' in Saturn's Rings, Created by a Moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was launched in 1997 and has been observing the Saturnine system for almost 13 years. It took a while to officially get there, but the wait was certainly worth it, as Cassini has been sending back amazingly detailed images of Saturn and its moons, showing us what goes on there.

Among the latest images NASA has shared on its blog are images from Cassini’s narrow-angle camera that show Daphnis, one of Saturn’s moons, creating ripples and waves along one of its rings.

A close-up of Daphnis and the waves it makes in Saturn's rings.

Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute

These are a result of the motion of Daphnis, which has somewhat of a vertical influence to it. In fact, NASA says that the saves are a result of Daphnis moving in and out of ring planes, as the gravitational effects of the moon influence the rings.

The images were taken in October of 2016 while Cassini was approximately 810,000 miles away and were captured in visible light. Just to give you an idea of the size of Daphnis, it has a diameter of about 5 miles. Additionally, the image was brightened by a factor of two to make Daphnis more visible.

NASA often studies the wave-like motions of Saturn’s rings, as these can often indicate the presence of undiscovered moons. On the other hand, this particular instance appears to be a moon that we already knew of.

For what it’s worth, Saturn has literally dozens of moons. There are 150 moons and moonlets, while 62 of those are confirmed. Of those 62, only 53 have been given official names to celebrate their discovery. Some of the moonlets, on the other hand, are nothing more than coagulated fragments of the rings themselves.

There is clearly a lot of un-tapped mystery to the Saturnine system, but the Cassini mission is scheduled to end in September of this year, which is when the probe itself will dive into Saturn's atmosphere, grabbing information about the atmosphere along the way and transmitting it to Earth in its final breath of life.

Source: NASA, IBT

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 12, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 12, 2018
NASA's Opportunity Rover Halts Scientific Operations Amid Martian Dust Storm
There’s a massive dust storm enveloping certain parts of Mars right now, and it just so happens that NASA’s Opportunity rover is stuck right in...
JUN 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 19, 2018
Watch the Heart of the ESA's ExoMars Rover Endure Stress Testing
The European Space Agency plans to send its ExoMars rover to Mars in 2020 to explore the red planet’s surface for signs of past (or present) life. Bu...
JUN 20, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 20, 2018
New Report Outlines How NASA Will Prepare for Potential Near-Earth Object Collisions
NASA juggles a bevy of space-related responsibilities, such as exploring the solar system and studying the most distant reaches of the universe, but one of...
JUL 08, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 08, 2018
NASA Engineers Install Revolutionary Heat Shield on the Parker Solar Probe
Despite all the things we’ve learned about the Sun over the years, we still have much to learn. Fortunately, NASA plans to send a specially-made spac...
JUL 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 10, 2018
Israel Will Soon Put An Unmanned Spacecraft on the Lunar Surface
The Moon is familiar territory to NASA and to a handful of other space agencies from around the globe, but not so much to the private sector. On the other...
AUG 26, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 26, 2018
NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Snaps its First Picture of Bennu
NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission is now one step closer to realizing...
Loading Comments...