Move Over Caravaggio: Cassini's Light and Dark Moons

This image of Penelope crater on Saturn's moon Tethys was obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on August 14, 2010. This image of Penelope crater on Saturn's moon Tethys was obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on August 14, 2010. › Larger image
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August 16, 2010

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has returned Saturnian moon images from its flyby late last week, revealing light and dark contrasts worthy of chiaroscuro painters like Caravaggio.

The flyby on August 13 targeted the geyser moon Enceladus, but also brought Cassini close to two other moons--Tethys and Dione.

The raw images include the best ones to date of Penelope crater on the icy moon Tethys . Penelope crater, which is 150 kilometers (90 miles) wide, is the second-largest crater on Tethys.

Cassini was also able to obtain a portrait of Enceladus over the bright arc of Saturn's atmosphere and a moody still life of one of the "tiger stripe" fissures at the Enceladus south polar region on the cusp of darkness . This particular "tiger stripe" -- which is the nickname for the fissures spewing water vapor and organic particles out into space - is called Damascus Sulcus. It was also the subject of a heat scan by Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer. Scientists are still analyzing the results.

Images of Dione highlight the moon's battered surface .

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, 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 and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

More raw images from the Enceladus flyby, dubbed "E11," are available at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/raw/.

More information about the Cassini-Huygens mission is at: http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov .

Jia-Rui C. Cook 818-354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
jia-rui.c.cook@jpl.nasa.gov

2010-270

Images

This image, taken on August 13, 2010, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows the moon Enceladus over the bright arc of Saturn's atmosphere.

This image, taken on August 13, 2010, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows the moon Enceladus over the bright arc of Saturn's atmosphere.

enlarge image

This image, taken on August 13, 2010, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows the fissure on the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus known as Damascus Sulcus.

This image, taken on August 13, 2010, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows the fissure on the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus known as Damascus Sulcus.

enlarge image



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