CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

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Gray Egg
PIA 14633

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  It's difficult not to think of an egg when looking at Saturn's moon Methone, seen here during a Cassini flyby of the small moon. The relatively smooth surface adds to the effect created by the oblong shape.

Small moons like Methone are not generally spherical in shape like the larger moons. Their small sizes means that they lack sufficient gravity to pull themselves into round shape. Scientists think that the elongated shapes of these moons may be a clue to how they formed.

Lit terrain seen here is on the leading side of Methone (2 miles, 3 kilometers across). North on Methone is up. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 20, 2012.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 3,000 miles (4,000 kilometers) from Methone and at a Sun-Methone-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 63 degrees. Scale in the original image was 88 feet (27 meters) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of 2.

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, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: November 5, 2012 (PIA 14633)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Nov 14, 2012 at 9:05 AM):
Perhaps Methone is more like a loosely packed snow ball. it might take a lot higher resolution to see any tracks in the snow.
as usual, interesting picture.
Cassiopeian (Nov 6, 2012 at 5:41 PM):
What is immediately apparent about Methone is that this small moon appears to lack craters.Is it a rubble pile with surface features that need a much higher image resolution to discern ?

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