CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Special Holiday Raw Preview #3

Special Holiday Raw Preview #3
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  This raw, unprocessed image of Prometheus was taken by Cassini on Dec. 26, 2009.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 26, 2009 at a distance of approximately 59,000 kilometers (36,000 miles) from Prometheus and at a Sun-Prometheus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 19 degrees degrees. Image scale is 351 meters (1,150 feet) per pixel.

The Cassini Equinox 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 Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: December 27, 2009
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Dec 31, 2009 at 1:16 PM):
( It's looking somewhat like a whale. ) ( And a bit like an alien spacecraft. ) It's showing a lot of new details at high resolution on this moonlet, I think.
Pepper (Dec 31, 2009 at 10:53 AM):
Carolyn: Ah yes, I remember watching the "movie" of this happening not too long ago, for some reason I was thinking that was a different moon. I will use the excuse that I hadn't finished my cup of coffee before posting, and remain thinking that I'm super-smart and all knowing. :p hahaha
But seriously, thanks for saying, I would more in likely not have thought upon it more, and always saw a big ball of lava. :)

It does make me wonder though, just how big it 'really' is, and how thick the dust lair is. I would guess that by measuring the diameter of the largest creator, and a few smaller ones, that one could get a close idea? - but that's condsidering that it's made of something simular to what we know and make an educated guess upon how deep the creators are. Still cool as heck though :)

Red_dragon (Dec 30, 2009 at 3:07 PM):
Amazing image without doubt. As a side note, what is that behind Prometheus?. Maybe the F-ring and Prometheus' shadow?
stowaway (Dec 30, 2009 at 12:34 PM):
The definitive portrait of Prometheus (so far)
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Dec 30, 2009 at 12:01 PM):
Pepper: It looks smooth because it's stealing material from the F ring and even, at times, dives into the skirts of the ring -- see as an example. At these times, it is very likely being coated in F ring dust. It's craters look quite `filled in' by material...a result of this process.
Pepper (Dec 30, 2009 at 9:28 AM):
It's rather funny to see this so up close, it looks like it's been hit a few times by meteors or something, but it still looks so smooth. I wonder if it was just a big splot of lava that hit the shadow and started to harden.

Very nice and clear image :) thanks for sharing it.
stowaway (Dec 29, 2009 at 4:56 AM):
This one is on the desktop
mipsandbips (Dec 28, 2009 at 6:52 PM):
exquisite detail. great image ciclops!
Plutonean (Dec 28, 2009 at 0:46 AM):
So like unto an asteroid ...

Tiny little moonlet,
Such a speck of ice
The fact that we can see it thus,
Is really rather nice!

Around the rings of Saturn,
It drifts so small and faint
Was it captured from the comet cloud?
Or mayhaps we're wrong & it ain't?

Congratulations and thanks to all those involved. :-)
jsc248 (Dec 27, 2009 at 1:50 PM):
Beautiful images and a fascinating look at Prometheus. Cassini continues to astound the eues and fire the imagination. Happy New Year to all at Ciclops and to all the Sector 6 members!