THE RINGS OF SATURN
The Color may be False, but the Effect is Amazing
Cassini image, 10 Nov 2006 // 3200 x 4200 pixel image
This false-color image of Saturn’s main rings was made by combining data from multiple star occultations using the Cassini ultraviolet imaging spectrograph. … During occultations, scientists observe the brightness of a star as the rings pass in front of the star. This provides a measurement of the amount of ring material between the spacecraft and the star.
Cassini found that this part of the rings is densely packed with clumps, called self-gravity wakes, separated by nearly empty gaps. … Colors in this image indicate the orientation of clumps, and brightness indicates the density of ring particles. The formation of wakes is strongest in the bluer regions, where ring particles clump together in tilted wakes. Particles in the central yellow regions are too densely packed for any starlight to pass through. Read more …
MIDDLE and BOTTOM IMAGES
Images taken during the Cassini spacecraft’s orbital insertion on June 30, 2004 show compositional variation in the A, B and C rings. The images were taken with the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph instrument, which is capable of resolving the rings to show features up to 97 km (60 miles) across, roughly 100 times the resolution of ultraviolet data obtained by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
Saturn’s A Ring From the Inside Out
The ‘Cassini Division’ in faint red at left is followed by the A ring in its entirety. … The ring system begins from the inside out with the D, C, B and A rings followed by the F, G and E rings. The red in the image indicates sparser ringlets likely made of “dirty,” and possibly smaller, particles than in the icier turquoise ringlets. Read more at NASA’s Planetary Images …
Saturn’s C and B Rings From the Inside Out
This image shows, from left to right, the outer portion of the C ring and inner portion of the B ring. The B ring begins a little more than halfway across the image. The general pattern is from ‘dirty’ particles indicated by red to cleaner ice particles shown in turquoise in the outer parts of the rings. Read more at NASA’s Planetary Images …