Look closely at the outermost set of Saturn's rings in this picture from the Cassini orbiter, and you'll see a series of swoopy streamers pointing inward.
Those faint streamers are created in Saturn's F ring when a 53-mile-wide (86-kilometer-wide) moon called Prometheus dips into it. As Prometheus pulls back, the moon draws out some of the ring's icy material, leaving bright streamers and dark channels in its wake.
Cassini has been studying Prometheus' role in sculpting Saturn's rings for years. This picture was taken by the spacecraft's narrow-angle camera on Feb. 11, from a distance of about 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers). To get a close-up of the action, watch a time-lapse video captured in 2008. And to learn more about the Cassini mission to Saturn, check out NASA's Cassini website as well as the Cassini imaging team's home page.
First published June 9 2014, 4:58 PM
Alan Boyle is the science editor for NBC News Digital. He joined MSNBC.com at its inception in July 1996, and took on the science role in July 1997 with the landing of NASA's Mars Pathfinder probe. Boyle is responsible for coverage of science and space for NBCNews.com.
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Boyle joined NBCNews.com from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he was the foreign desk editor from 1987 to 1996. Boyle has won awards for science journalism from numerous organizations, including the National Academies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Science Writers. Boyle is the author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference." He lives in Bellevue, Wash.