CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Rev 60: Feb 25 - Mar 7 '08
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Cassini's journey at Saturn continues with Rev 60, its 61st orbit of the ringed planet. Cassini's slate of observations this orbit includes several opportunities to image Saturn's rings, atmosphere, and small moons.

Cassini begins Rev60 on February 25 at its farthest distance from Saturn, called apoapsis. At this point, Cassini is 1.63 million km (1.01 million mi) from the planet. On February 26 and 27, Cassini performs observations of several of Saturn's small satellites. The observations are designed to study the orbits of these objects and how they might evolve over short time periods due to perturbations from the other satellites in the system. On February 26, Cassini will observe Saturn's northern hemisphere using ten filter combinations, including those needed for a true-color composite. Other filter combinations will allow atmospheric scientists to study Saturn's clouds at different levels. On February 28, Cassini's ISS and Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) will image both the left and right ansas of Saturn's rings from high above the ringplane.

Cassini reaches periapse, the closest point in its orbit, on March 2 when the spacecraft is 222,000 km (138,000 mi) above Saturn's cloud tops. Three imaging sequences are planned for March 2 and 3 during the periapse period. The first is a huge, 250-frame NAC azimuthal scan covering the entire extent of the Maxwell Gap in the outer C ring. The second observation will examine various ringlets in the outer C ring at high resolution. Finally, on March 3, Cassini will take a look at Tethys when nearly between Tethys and the Sun, providing an opportunity to examine the moon's opposition surge.

Cassini finishes Rev60 with several small satellite orbital determination sequences. On March 4, Cassini will examine Saturn's atmosphere--this time both the northern and southern hemispheres, at low phase angles.

Cassini begins orbit 62 (Rev61), on March 7. Rev61 includes the third targeted encounter with Enceladus of Cassini's primary mission and the first of three planned for 2008.

Image products created in Celestia.

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