CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Rev 65: Apr 16 - Apr 25 '08

Cassini's fast and furious orbits around Saturn continue with the nine-day long Rev65, the spacecraft's 66th orbit of the ringed planet. As such, Cassini's slate of observations is tightly focused, with sequences involving Saturn's atmosphere, rings, and small satellites.

Cassini begins Rev65 on April 16 at its farthest distance from Saturn, called apoapsis. At this point, Cassini is 1.48 million km (917,000 mi) from Saturn. The high inclination of this orbit allows for detailed study of Saturn's ring system and northern hemisphere from high above the ringplane. On April 17, Cassini will observe Saturn's northern hemisphere as part of a program to monitor clouds and haze in the region as the Sun rises higher in the sky with the approach of northern spring. On April 18, Cassini performs several observations of Saturn's small satellites. The observations are designed to study the orbits of these objects and how they might evolve over short periods due to perturbations from the other satellites in the system.

On April 20, Cassini reaches periapse, its closest point to Saturn on Rev65. At that point, Cassini will be 259,000 km (161,000 mi) from Saturn's cloud tops.

On April 21 and 22, Cassini will acquire several observations of Saturn's ring system. The first two observations will focus on the outer B ring and the inner portion of the Cassini Division, looking for azimuthal variations in the various ringlets and ring margins in this area. The other observation will focus on the outer A ring and inner Roche Division, again looking for variations in the A-ring margin.

Following the periapse period, Cassini will continue to focus on Saturn's atmosphere, rings, and small satellites. On April 23, Cassini will image Saturn's atmosphere, looking at clouds and hazes in both the northern and southern hemisphere as Cassini approaches the ringplane. On April 25, Cassini will observe the F ring, looking at the various clumps in that ring. On that same day, Cassini will acquire a radial scan (a series of images from the inner to outer main rings) with Saturn's limb in the background. Such observations can provide a good measure of the opacity of different portions of the ring system. Finally, on April 24 and 25, Cassini observes several of Saturn's small satellites as part of its ongoing orbit determination campaign.

Cassini begins the following orbit, Rev66, on April 25. Observations of Pan, Atlas, and Titan are planned for that period.

Image products created in Celestia.