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Move Over Caravaggio: Cassini's Light and Dark Moons
Move Over Caravaggio: Cassini's Light and Dark Moons
16 Aug 2010
(Source: NASA/JPL)

This image (N00161009.jpg) was taken on August 14, 2010 and received on Earth August 14, 2010. The camera was pointing toward TETHYS at approximately 38,327 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.
Cassini raw image of the Penelope crater on Tethys

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has returned Saturnian moon images from its flyby late last week, revealing light and dark contrasts worthy of chiaroscuro painters like Caravaggio.

The flyby on August 13 targeted the geyser moon Enceladus, but also brought Cassini close to two other moons --Tethys and Dione.

The raw images include the best ones to date of Penelope crater on the icy moon Tethys. Penelope crater, which is 150 kilometers (90 miles) wide, is the second-largest crater on Tethys.

Cassini was also able to obtain a portrait of Enceladus over the bright arc of Saturn's atmosphere and a moody still life of one of the "tiger stripe" fissures at the Enceladus south polar region on the cusp of darkness.

Enceladus's south polar region
This image (N00161059.jpg) was taken on August 13, 2010 and received on Earth August 15, 2010. The camera was pointing toward ENCELADUS at approximately 2,673 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.
This particular "tiger stripe" -- which is the nickname for the fissures spewing water vapor and organic particles out into space - is called Damascus Sulcus. It was also the subject of a heat scan by Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer. Scientists are still analyzing the results.

Images of Dione highlight the moon's battered surface.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, 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.

More raw images from the Enceladus flyby, dubbed "E11," are available at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/raw/ .

More information about the Cassini-Huygens mission is at: http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.

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Last Updated: 19 Aug 2010