Cassini provides this dramatic portrait of Janus against the cloud-streaked backdrop of Saturn.
Like many small bodies in the solar system, Janus (179 kilometers, 111 miles across) is potato-shaped with many craters, and has a surface that looks as though it has been smoothed by some process. Like Pandora (see PIA07632) and Telesto (see PIA07696), Janus may be covered with a mantle of fine dust-sized icy material.
The image was taken using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 930 nanometers. The view was acquired with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 25, 2006 at a distance of approximately 145,000 kilometers (90,000 miles) from Janus and at a Sun-Janus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 62 degrees. North on Saturn is up. Image scale is 871 meters (2,858 feet) per pixel.
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.