Cassini shows the closest view yet of Saturn’s ‘wavemaker’ mini-moon

The Cassini spacecraft by Nasa, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency continues to beam back never before seen images of the moons of Saturn. The latest image is a high resolution snap of the tiny moon Daphnis causing ripples in the Keeler gap of the ring system around Saturn. The ripples can be 8 kilometers long. Daphnis is called the wavemaker moon because of the way it interacts with the ring system.

Picture Source:: NASA

The moon is 8 kilometers across and orbits in the Keeler gap which is 42 kilometers wide. The image was captured in visible light with the narrow angle camera on board the spacecraft. A tendril of ring material can be seen following Daphnis, which is probably the matter spreading out after Daphnis attracted some of the ring material. The texture of the rings itself indicates local clumping of matter within the lanes of the rings.

Ever since Cassini entered into the ring grazing orbits, a the spacecraft has been sending back spellbinding images of the moons of Saturn. Mimas was captured as if it was appearing to crash in the ring system, but that was just an optical illusion. The 8 km long ripples in the Keeler gap caused by Daphnis was previously photographed by Cassini, but never before in such detail.. The Cassini Spacecraft has been in operation for over twenty years, and there are plans to safely de-orbit the spacecraft into Saturn to prevent an contamination to the moons of Saturn which could potentially have life.

READ  Starliner Space Taxis by Boeing to have more than 600 3D printed parts