Saturday, August 8, 2009
Small moonlet discovered in Saturn's B ring
The Cassini spacecraft spotted this tiny moonlet as it orbits within Saturn's vast and dense B ring. Again, the rings are observed very near equinox, so the Sun's illumination streams nearly along the ring plane, and small objects can cast long shadows here. From the 40km length of the moonlet's shadow, Cassini scientists can infer its diameter of 0.4km. The view here is of the outer part of the B ring. Saturn is far off to the left, and the dark region on the right is the Cassini Division, in which the Huygen's ringlet (grey ribbon) also resides. Check the CICLOPS website for more details and other great images of Saturn's ring/satellite system.