28 October 2011

There are four moons in this photo

The image comes from the Cassini-Huygens space probe, presently imaging the area around Saturn.  Titan is the big moon in the background, with Dione in front of it.  Pandora is just beyond the rings to the right.  To find Pan, you will probably need to visit the source of this image - NASA's incomparable APOD website (and thereby learn about the Encke Gap, and what causes it...)


  1. Yes, the effects of the weakest interactive force, gravity, is amazing.

    A good 15-20 minute read is the wiki on Earth's moon. Looking up the terms you don't know is a delight and very insightful.

  2. Isn't there a fifth one? Seems to be a tiny globe with shadow just inside the white ring, just to the left of dead-center of the picture.


  3. If you look in the other photos of the rings, there is usually a spot that seems to contain some sort of projected image or reflection.

    I am pretty sure it is a visual artifact, otherwise it would have cleared out it's orbit, also. :)

  4. @anon2

    That's just a gap in the ring, the rings are filled with thousands of them. I think the 'white sphere' you can see is an optical illusion caused by the existence of the gap.

  5. it is a particularly big gap, which is why it shows up so clearly.


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