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The brightest of Jupiter's outer satellites, Himalia, was captured and resolved, for the first time, in a series of narrow angle images taken on December 19, 2000 from a distance of 4.4 million kilometers during the brief period when Cassini's attitude was stabilized by thrusters instead of reaction wheels. This particular 1.0 second exposure was one of the sharpest, with a resolution of ~ 27 km/pixel, and was taken through a near-infrared spectral filter at 1:07 UTC (spacecraft time). The arrow indicates Himalia. North is up. The inset shows the satellite magnified by a factor of 10 and a graphic indicating Himalia's size and phase (the sunlight is coming from the left). It is likely that Himalia is not spherical: it is believed to be a body captured into orbit around Jupiter and as such, is likely to be an irregularly shaped asteroid. At the time this image was acquired, the side of Himalia facing the cameras was roughly 160 km across in the up/down direction.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. 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.