Skip to main content International
The Web      Powered by
Science & Space

Ripples detected in Saturn ring

By SPACE.comexternal link staff

Kinks ripple through Saturn's F ring. Courtesy: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

( -- New images from the Cassini spacecraft reveal undulating kinks in one of the rings and theft of ring dust by a moon. The kinks are seen in greater detail than ever before and the thievery has been photographed for the first time.

Saturn's moon Prometheus is likely behind it all.

The material in Saturn's ring -- ice and rock from the size of dust to mountains -- orbits the planet in a flat plane divided into several rings. In the F ring, kinks travel along the orbital path, looking a bit like moving bumps in a road.

Scientists have speculated in the past Saturn's moon Prometheus creates the kinks by pulling material from the F ring and temporarily putting batches of the stuff on a slightly different path.

That view is bolstered by an image that appears to show a faint strand of material running from the F ring to Prometheus, presumably lured there by the moons gravity. The potato-shaped satellite is about 63 miles (102 kilometers) long.

It would not be the first time Prometheus has stolen something. In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gave it to the mortals.

The kinks in the F ring are seen in an animation with 44 panels taken at 3-minute intervals. The rings appear to tilt during the sequence because of the spacecraft's movement south and away from the planet during the roughly 2-hour photography session.

The images were released Friday.

Copyright © 1999-2006, Inc.

Story Tools
Click Here to try 4 Free Trial Issues of Time! cover
Top Stories
Quake jitters hit California
Top Stories
EU 'crisis' after summit failure

On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.