CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Conjoined Moons

Conjoined Moons
PIA 12728

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  Looking like half of a figure eight, two of Saturn's moons appear conjoined in this Cassini image.

The moon Dione, at the top in the image, is actually closer to the spacecraft here. However, because of the similar albedo, or reflectivity, of the two moons and because of the location of a particularly large crater near the south polar region of Dione, the moon appears blended seamlessly with Rhea. The large, faint crater Evander is centered at about 57 degrees south latitude, 145 degrees west longitude and can also be seen in the Dione south polar map (see PIA12579).

Lit terrain seen here is on the anti-Saturn side of Dione (1123 kilometers, 698 miles across) and leading hemisphere on Rhea (1528 kilometers, 949 miles across).

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 27, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometers (688,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 78 degrees. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.6 million kilometers (994,000 miles) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 78 degrees. Image scale is 7 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel on Dione and 10 kilometers (6 miles) on Rhea.

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: September 24, 2010 (PIA 12728)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Sep 24, 2010 at 5:42 PM):
This is one of the most impressive images of this kind ever released. Keep them coming.
stowaway (Sep 24, 2010 at 8:19 AM):