CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

The Moons Are the Stars
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The Moons Are the Stars
PIA 08216

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  The real jewels of Saturn are arguably its stunning collection of icy moons. Seen here with the unlit side of the rings are Titan (5,150 kilometers, 3,200 miles across at right), Tethys (1,062 kilometers, 660 miles across at left) and Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across at center) with its fountain-like geysers.

The faint, vertical banding in the image is due to "noise" in the spacecraft electronics. This noise is difficult to remove from an image that has a very wide dynamic range--i.e., a wide range of brightness levels--as in the difference between gleaming Titan and the faint plumes of Enceladus.

Additionally, a reflection of Titan's light within the camera optics is likely responsible for the faint secondary image of Titan's limb to the left of the giant moon.

The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 10, 2006 at a distance of approximately 3.9 million kilometers (2.4 million miles) from Enceladus, 5.3 million kilometers (3.3 million miles) from Titan and 4.4 million kilometers (2.7 million miles) from Tethys. The Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle is 160 degrees on Enceladus. Image scale is 23 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel on Enceladus, 32 kilometers (20 miles) per pixel on Titan and 26 kilometers (16 miles) per pixel on Tethys.

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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. 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-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: July 7, 2006 (Happy 66th Birthday, Ringo) (PIA 08216)
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