NASA Image of the Day: 'Pandora, the Would-Be Perturber'

"As Cassini hurtled toward its fatal encounter with Saturn, the spacecraft turned to catch this final look at Saturn's moon Pandora next to the thin line of the F ring." (Image credit: NASA)

Over the course of its mission, Cassini helped scientists understand that Pandora plays a smaller role than they originally thought in shaping the narrow ring. When Cassini arrived at Saturn, many thought that Pandora and Prometheus worked together to shepherd the F ring between them, confining it and sculpting its unusual braided and kinked structures. However, data from Cassini show that the gravity of the two moons together actually stirs the F ring into a chaotic state, generating the “gap and streamer” structure seen elsewhere (see also PIA15501).

"As Cassini hurtled toward its fatal encounter with Saturn, the spacecraft turned to catch this final look at Saturn's moon Pandora next to the thin line of the F ring."

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