PIA08161: Worlds in Orbit

 Worlds in Orbit

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Three of Saturn’s moons are captured with the planet in this exquisite family portrait. At top, Saturn is bedecked with the shadows of its innermost rings.

Tethys (1,071 kilometers, or 665 miles across) appears at lower right, closest to Cassini. Janus (181 kilometers, or 113 miles across) and Mimas (397 kilometers, or 247 miles across) are on the far side of the immense ringed planet. Mimas is just about to slip behind Saturn.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 13, 2006, at a distance of approximately 2.7 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is about 17 kilometers (11 miles) per pixel on Janus and Mimas, and 14 kilometers (9 miles) per pixel on Tethys.

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 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at ciclops.org.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Source: NASA’s Planetary Photojournal: Image No. PIA08161