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Pan in the Drivers Seat
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Pan in the Driver's Seat

June 14, 2008

Pan coasts down its private highway within the Encke Gap.

The process by which Pan (28 kilometers, or 17 miles across) maintains the gap, clearing the neighborhood around its orbit, is believed to be similar to the way that planets clear gaps in debris disks around young stars.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 11 degrees above the ringplane.

The limb of Saturn is seen through the rings at upper left.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 24, 2008. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.3 million kilometers (784,000 miles) from Pan. Image scale is 8 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel.



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