CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Cold Sunshine
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Weak sunlight illuminates Saturn's large, icy moon Tethys and its crater Odysseus.

At the orbit of Saturn the Sun's light is between 80 and 100 times fainter than at Earth, depending on where the planet is in its eccentric (out of round) orbit, making high noon on Tethys like twilight on Earth.

This view looks toward the northern hemisphere of Tethys (1,062 kilometers, 660 miles across) on the moon's anti-Saturn side. North is up and rotated 10 degrees to the right.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 21, 2008 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 770,000 kilometers (479,000 miles) from Tethys and at a Sun-Tethys-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 50 degrees. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 miles) per pixel.

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: August 1, 2008 (PIA 10438)
Image/Caption Information
  Cold Sunshine
PIA 10438

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