Spectacular Spokes
2012 of 4069

Spectacular Spokes

February 21, 2009

Signaling a return to the bright spokes first encountered by the Cassini spacecraft in 2005, three large white spokes stretch out across the B ring. Throughout most of the last year, Cassini captured views of dark spokes.

This image of bright spokes was taken Jan. 14, 2009 in visible light with the spacecraft's wide-angle camera.The small moon Atlas (30 kilometers, or 19 miles across) has been brightened by 30 percent but still appears as a faint dot between the A and F rings in the top right quadrant of the image.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 6 degrees below the ringplane. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 551,000 kilometers (342,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 155 degrees. Image scale is 29 kilometers (18 miles) per pixel.

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