New Delhi: Saturn's second-innermost moon, Pan, may be a small one, but the way Cassini shows it, it isn't one to be overlooked.
Pan orbits within the Encke Gap in Saturn's A Ring. It is considered a ring shepherd and is responsible for keeping the Encke Gap free of ring particles.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft that is currently on its final leg of the Saturn probe, captured an image on July 2, 2016, that shows how the walnut-sized moon holds open the Encke gap and shapes the ever-changing ringlets within the gap.
The view in the image looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 8 degrees above the ring plane, NASA reported.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 840,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 128 degrees. Image scale is 5 miles (8 kilometers) per pixel. Pan has been brightened by a factor of two to enhance its visibility.