Images Credit & Copyright: NASA JPL Cassini Imaging Team.
We’ve seen it before so we shouldn’t be surprised but this past week the folks at NASA’s Cassini Imaging Team delivered three gems in a row of the moons of Saturn so I’d like to take a moment to show them off.
The first one (shown above) is titled “Triple Crescents” and it’s just amazing. Taken on March 25, 2015, we have the massive 3,200 mi. (5,150 km) diameter Titan; the largest of the three imaged by Cassini from a distance of 1.2 million mi. (2 million km).
The second largest crescent in this image is Saturn’s moon Mimas. At a distance of 1.9 million mi. (3.1 million km), you can just make out some surface features on the illuminated portion of its 246 mi (396 km) diameter body.
Finally, the smallest crescent picture in the image, Rhea, at 949 mi. (1,527 km) in diameter is much larger than Mimas, it was captured at a distance of 2.2 million mi. (3.5 million km).
Next we have an image captured by Cassini on June 16, 2015 and it’s of Saturn’s moon Dione during Cassini’s 4th targeted flyby of the moon which had a very close pass distance of 321 mi. (516 km). This image however, was captured from a distance of 48,000 mi. (77,000 km). Mix in the tiny ice moon Enceladus way off in the distance and the gentle arc of the massive Saturn itself with its edge-on ring system and we have a recipe for perfection.
The third and final image in this series is also of Dione captured by Cassini on June 16, 2015 during its close approach. This image is similar to the image above but zoomed in quite a bit as NASA identifies the image having been taken at the same distance as the previous one. In this image, the impact scarred face of Dione shows off much greater detail than in the previous image. Just like our own moon, the shadowed regions along its 694 mi. (1,118 km) diameter surface offer the most stunning visuals.
NASA JPL Cassini page: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/
NASA Cassini page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/main/index.html
Cassini Imaging Team homepage: http://ciclops.org/