CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Dramatic Helene
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Saturn's small, irregularly shaped moon Helene is illuminated strikingly in this close view captured by Cassini during the spacecraft's June 18, 2011, flyby.

Although it is not visible at this exposure, the planet actually fills the dark background of this image of Helene. See PIA12773 for another close-up from this encounter.

This view looks toward the anti-Saturn side of Helene (33 kilometers, 21 miles across). North on Helene is up. Lit terrain on the right is on the leading hemisphere while lit terrain at the top of the image surrounds the north pole.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 11,000 kilometers (7,000 miles) from Helene and at a Sun-Helene-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 151 degrees. Image scale is 67 meters (220 feet) per pixel.

The Cassini Solstice 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 Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
Released: August 15, 2011 (PIA 12779)
Image/Caption Information
  Dramatic Helene
PIA 12779

Avg Rating: 9.40/10

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Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Aug 18, 2011 at 4:43 AM):
So awesome and so dramatic. You'll never cease to surprise us. It's hard to believe that's a moon of Saturn and not a comet or asteroid.