Three Moons


3MoonsThe Cassini spacecraft has sent us this family photo of three of Saturn’s moons that are different from each other. The largest of the three, Tethys is round and has a variety of terrains across its surface. Hyperion (to the upper-left of Tethys) is the “wild one” with a chaotic spin, and Prometheus (lower-left) is a tiny moon that busies itself shepherding the F ring.

Image Credit: NASA

Crescent Mimas


Crescent Mimas

Death Star MimasCassini has seen back this crescent view of Saturn’s moon Mimas, the long shadows showing off its many craters, indicators of the moon’s violent history. The most famous evidence of a collision on Mimas (just under 400 km across) is the crater Herschel that gives Mimas its Death-Star-like appearance.

Image Credits: NASA

B and C in UV


RingsInUVOn 1 July, 2004, the Cassini spacecraft arrived at Saturn, marking the end of the spacecraft’s nearly seven-year journey through the solar system and the beginning of its tour of Saturn and the planet’s rings and moons.

This picture was taken in ultraviolet on 30 June, 2004 during Cassini’s orbital insertion maneuver. It shows, from left to right, the outer portion of the C ring and inner portion of the B ring which begins a little more than halfway across the image. The “dirty” particles are indicated by red, and “cleaner: ice particles shown in turquoise.

Saturn’s ring system is labeled from the inside out with the D, C, B and A rings followed by the F, G and E rings.

Image Credit: NASA

Rings and Shadows


ring shadowsjpgSaturn’s rings cast shadows on the planet, but the shadows appear to be inside out! The edge of Saturn’s outermost A ring can be seen at the top left corner of this picture taken by the Cassini spacecraft.  Moving down the image, one can see the faint Cassini Division, the opaque B ring, and the innermost C ring. The C ring contains several ringlets which appear dark against Saturn..  The bottom half of the picture shows the shadows of the rings in reverse order on the surface of the planet: the C ring, the B ring, the Cassini Division, and the inner half of the A ring.

Image Credit: NASA