Bite Out of Iapetus

Bite Out of Iapetus

A large dark region fills a semicircle of the visible disk of Iapetus on the left of this Cassini spacecraft image, appearing like a bite taken out of this Saturnian moon. See Global View of Iapetus’ Dichotomy to learn more about Iapetus’s unique bright/dark coloring. This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 20 degrees to the right. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 6, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 3.9 million kilometers (2.4 million miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft angle of 18 degrees. Scale in the original image was 23 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel. The image was contrast enhanced and magnified by a factor of three to enhance the visibility of surface features. 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 mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Dione Sliding by Tethys

Dione Sliding by Tethys

Saturn’s moon Dione passes by the moon Tethys in this Cassini spacecraft depiction of a “mutual event.” Mutual events occur when, from the vantage point of Cassini, one moon appears to pass close to or in front of another moon. Mutual event observations help scientists refine their understanding of the orbits of Saturn’s moons. See Catching Big Sister to watch a movie of a mutual event. Lit terrain seen here is on Saturn-facing, trailing hemisphere side of both Tethys (1,062 kilometers, or 660 miles across) and Dione (1,123 kilometers, or 698 miles across). The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 26, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) from Dione and 2.4 million kilometers (1.5 million miles) from Tethys. Image scale in the original image was 12 kilometers (7 miles) per pixel on Dione and 14 kilometers (9 miles) per pixel on Tethys. The image was contrast enhanced and magnified by a factor of two to enhance the visibility of surface features. 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 mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Crescent at Equinox

Crescent at Equinox

The Cassini spacecraft looks down and pictures Saturn wrapped in a pencil-thin shadow of the rings just days after the planet’s August 2009 equinox. The moon Epimetheus is not shown here, but it is casting a tiny shadow on the planet above the rings. The moon Enceladus (504 kilometers, or 313 miles across) is faintly visible in the far top right of the image. The novel illumination geometry that accompanies equinox lowers the sun’s angle to the ringplane, significantly darkens the rings, and causes out-of-plane structures to look anomalously bright and cast shadows across the rings. These scenes are possible only during the few months before and after Saturn’s equinox, which occurs only once in about 15 Earth years. Before and after equinox, Cassini’s cameras have spotted not only the predictable shadows of some of Saturn’s moons (see Across Resplendent Rings), but also the shadows of newly revealed vertical structures in the rings themselves (see A Small Find Near Equinox). This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from about 13 degrees above the ringplane. The rings have been brightened by a factor of 10 relative to the planet. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 17, 2009 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 109 degrees. Image scale is 125 kilometers (78 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 mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]