CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
What's the Spin?

What's the Spin?
PIA 06645

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  The chaotically tumbling moon Hyperion (270 kilometers, 168 miles across) is captured in this view. At the top is a 130 kilometer (80 mile) -wide crater seen in some Voyager images. Detecting specific features is the first step in trying to understand the current rotation state of Hyperion, compared to that at the time of Voyager.

This is the second-closest view of Hyperion thus far obtained by Cassini. The closest-yet view was included in a previously released montage of Hyperion images (see PIA06608, top center image).

The image was taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera on March 19, 2005 from a distance of approximately 1.3 million kilometers (824,000 miles) from Hyperion and at a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 63 degrees. Resolution in the original image was 8 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel. The image has been contrast-enhanced and magnified by a factor of three to aid visibility.

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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: May 10, 2005 (PIA 06645)
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