As it loops around Saturn, Cassini periodically gets a good view of Hyperion (270 kilometers, 168 miles across). Hyperion chaotically tumbles around in its orbit and is the largest of Saturn's irregularly-shaped moons. New details about this oddball worldlet will certainly come to light in September, 2005, when Cassini is slated to approach Hyperion at a distance of 990 kilometers (615 miles).
The images were taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera in October, 2004 and February, 2005, from distances ranging from 1.3 to 1.6 million kilometers (808,000 to 994,000 million miles) from Hyperion and at Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angles ranging from 42 to 66 degrees. Resolution in the original images was 8 to 10 kilometers (5 to 6 miles) per pixel. The images have been contrast-enhanced and magnified by a factor of two to aid visibility.
[Caption updated February 12, 2008]
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 Science Mission Directorate, 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.