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The Cassini spacecraft looks across the unlit ringplane as Mimas glides silently in front of Dione.
It is often difficult to tell from two-dimensional views like this where the moons are in relation to each other and Cassini. In this instance, Mimas (397 kilometers, or 247 miles across) is on the side of Saturn closest to Cassini and Dione (1,126 kilometers, or 700 miles across) is on the far side of the planet.
Dione’s night side is dimly lit by reflected light from Saturn. Much of the planet’s sunlit side would be visible from the dark terrain seen here on Dione.
Saturn’s shadow stretches across the rings at the bottom of the image.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 3, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) from Mimas and 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Dione. The view was obtained at a Sun-moon-spacecraft, or phase, angle of about 146 degrees relative to both moons. Image scale is 10 kilometers (6 miles) per pixel on Mimas and 13 kilometers (8 miles) on Dione.
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.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute