CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Phoebe in the Round
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This panel of images shows the nearly spherical shape of Saturn's moon Phoebe, as derived from imaging obtained from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Each image represents a 90-degree turn.

In 2012, Cassini scientists published their findings, derived from theoretical modeling using data from a variety of Cassini instruments, that Phoebe almost surely is a large planetesimal which formed in the early Kuiper Belt before being captured into orbit around Saturn. The new analysis showed Phoebe likely was heated early in its history and consequently is nearly spherical and has denser rock-rich material concentrated near its center. Its average density, in fact, is about the same as Pluto, another object in the Kuiper Belt. Phoebe was likely captured by Saturn when it got close to the giant planet in the past.

The Cassini Solstice 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 Solstice Mission visit http://ciclops.org, http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: April 26, 2012 (PIA 15507)
Image/Caption Information
  Phoebe in the Round
PIA 15507

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