CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Two Moons Passing in the Night
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Mimas and Pandora remind us of how different they are when they appeared together as they do in this Cassini image. Although they are both moons of Saturn, Pandora's (50 miles, 81 kilometers across) small size means that it lacks sufficient gravity to pull itself into a round shape like its larger sibling, Mimas (246 miles, 396 kilometers across).

Researchers believe that the elongated shape of Pandora may hold clues to how it and other moons near the rings formed.

This view looks toward the anti-Saturn hemisphere of Mimas. North on Mimas is up and rotated 28 degrees to the right. The image was taken in blue light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 14, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 690,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Mimas. Image scale is 4 miles (7 kilometers) per pixel. Pandora was at a distance of 731,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) when this image was taken. Image scale on Pandora is 4 miles (7 kilometers) per pixel.

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: July 22, 2013 (PIA 17120)
Image/Caption Information
  Two Moons Passing in the Night
PIA 17120

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