In the famous words of the 21st Century philosopher, Beyoncé, “if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it”.
In that case, the Universe must have really liked Saturn.
While all of the gas giants in our solar system have rings, Saturn’s are by far the most prominent and celebrated. And while humans have been admiring Saturn’s rings for centuries (when Galileo first discovered them, he described them as Saturn’s ears), it was Cassini that brought them into razor-sharp focus.
Shadows cast on Saturn’s A ring. – Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Several sets of shadows are cast onto the A ring in this image taken about a week after Saturn’s August 2009 equinox.
Near the middle of the image, shadows are cast by vertically extended clumps in the kinky, discontinuous ringlets of the Encke Gap in the A ring. These clumps are casting shadows approximately 275 kilometers (170 miles) long, implying a clump height about 600 meters (2,000 feet) above the ring plane.
In the middle left of the image, the waves created by Daphnis (8 kilometers, 5 miles across) on the edge of the Keeler Gap cast shadows on the A ring that are about 450 ...