Saturn's Cassini Division


Saturn's ring system has gaps throughout it, though only a few of these gaps were known before space probes were able to visit the planet. The largest of these gaps is called the Cassini division, after its French discoverer Jean D. Cassini. It is about 4,800 kilometers wide, although this varies quite a bit around the planet. The gaps are produced by the gravitational pull of one or more of Saturn's many moons on the tiny particles in the rings. For the Cassini gap, the moon Mimas is responsible for clearing out any material in the region.

Saturn with Cassini Division marked
Close-up of Cassini Division


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StarChild Authors: The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Curator: J.D. Myers
Responsible NASA Official: Amber Straughn