CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Closest View of Helene
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Cassini snapped this image during the spacecraft's closest flyby of Saturn's moon Helene on March 3, 2010.

See PIA09015 for the previous closest view of Helene (33 kilometers, 21 miles across). The small moon leads Dione by 60 degrees in the moons' shared orbit. Helene is a "Trojan" moon of Dione, named for the Trojan asteroids that orbit 60 degrees ahead of and behind Jupiter as it circles the Sun.

Lit terrain seen here is on the anti-Saturn side of Helene. The south pole of the moon is in the lower right of the image.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) from Helene and at a Sun-Helene-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 90 degrees. Scale in the original image was 235 meters (770 feet) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of two and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.

The Cassini Equinox Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. 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 was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: June 11, 2010 (PIA 12653)
Image/Caption Information
  Closest View of Helene
PIA 12653

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