CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Pitted Hyperion
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Cassini peers at the pitted surface of the small and irregularly-shaped moon Hyperion.

See PIA09728 to learn how these pits are created on low-density Hyperion (270 kilometers, 168 miles across). To watch a movie of this tumbling moon, see PIA07683.

Scale in the original image was 9 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of three and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 5, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles) from Hyperion and at a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 91 degrees.

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: November 5, 2009 (PIA 11617)
Image/Caption Information
  Pitted Hyperion
PIA 11617

Avg Rating: 8.06/10

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Alliance Member Comments
thetonster (Nov 10, 2009 at 2:34 AM):
How many images have been made of Hyperion with Cassini? There was an article in Science a few years ago asserting chaotic rotation, but I wonder if it is in some exotic state wherein Hyperion effectively precesses at a rate almost equal to its rotation, and the latter possibly occurs around a non-principal axis, the way Eros does. This could mimic chaos over a relatively short time.
Also I wonder anyone has attempted to model the evolution of Hyperionís orbit, and how it got so tangled up with Titan! Saturnís family has so many marvelous mysteries we have yet to completely understand.

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