A grandiose gesture of gravity, Saturn's icy rings fan out across many thousands of kilometers of space. Pan (26 kilometers, 16 miles across) dutifully follows its path, like the billions and billions of particles comprising the rings. The little moon is seen at the center of this view, within the Encke gap.
The famous Cassini Division spans upper left corner of the scene. The Cassini Division is approximately 4,800 kilometers (2,980 miles) wide and is visible in small telescopes from Earth.
The narrow, knotted F ring is thinly visible just beyond the main rings.
The image was taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera on July 20, 2005, from a distance of approximately 2.1 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale on Pan is 13 kilometers (8 miles) per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.