PIA12638: Big and Small Before Rings

 Big and Small Before Rings

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Saturn’s moon Rhea looms “over” a smaller and more distant Epimetheus against a striking background of planet and rings.

The two moons aren’t actually close to each other. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Rhea and 1.6 million kilometers (994,000 miles) from Epimetheus.

Lit terrain seen here is in the area between the trailing hemisphere and anti-Saturn side of Rhea (1,528 kilometers, or 949 miles across). Lit terrain seen on Epimetheus (113 kilometers, or 70 miles across) is mostly on the Saturn-facing side. This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 24, 2010. Image scale is 7 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel on Rhea and 10 kilometers (6 miles) per pixel on Epimetheus.

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

Image Addition Date: 2010-05-21

Source: NASA’s Planetary Photojournal: Image No. PIA12638