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Cassini Spacecraft Spotted Small Objects In Saturn's F-Ring's Bright Core

First Posted: Feb 27, 2017 03:50 AM EST
Cassini: Coming Attractions At Saturn
Cassini spacecraft has been exploring and studying the Saturn's system since its arrival in 2004.
(Photo : NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/YouTube screenshot)

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is continuing its mission in exploring the planet Saturn. It just spotted several small objects through the Saturn's F-ring's bright core.

In the images below, they show the two objects that Cassini captured in spring 2016. The researchers provide the objects their designations as F16QA (right image) and the F16QB (left image). These objects rarely crash into the F-ring's bright core. These generate spectacular collisional structures, according to NASA.

The objects might be probably shaped as loose clumps in Saturn's F-ring core that resulted from the perturbations caused by Saturn's moon Prometheus. If these objects survive the clash with Prometheus, their orbits can evolve. This could lead to core-crossing clumps that create amazing features.

The Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera captured the images on Feb. 5, 2017, at 610,000 miles (982,000 kilometers, left image). Meanwhile, the right image was detected at a distance of 556,000 miles (894,000 kilometers). The image scale is approximately 4 miles (6 kilometers) per pixel.

Cassini-Huygens is unmanned with Flagship-class NASA-ESA-ASI robotic spacecraft. It is sent to in space to explore the planet Saturn and the fourth space probe to visit the ring planet. It was launched on Oct. 15, 1997. It arrived on Saturn in 2004 and has been studying the planet and its several natural satellites since then.

The Saturn orbiter is the Cassini and the lander Huygens for the Saturn's moon Titan. The spacecraft is named after the astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christian Huygens. Huygens spacecraft separated from the orbiter Cassini and landed on moon Titan on Jan. 14, 2005. Meanwhile, Cassini is continually studying the Saturn system till now. On the other hand, it will dive into the planet atmosphere due to the shortage of fuel resources by September 2017.

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