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Emily LakdawallaAugust 18, 2005

A little more Hyperion

Checking the Cassini raw images website, I found quite a few more images of Hyperion this morning. It looks like Cassini had a leisurely flyby of the little moon from roughly 700,000 kilometers' distance.

Cassini flies by Hyperion, August 17, 2005

NASA / JPL / SSI / Emily Lakdawalla

Cassini flies by Hyperion, August 17, 2005
Cassini had a leisurely flyby of the little moon at roughly 700,000 kilometers distance.

I like Hyperion's big "nose" that rolls into and out of view in this animation. It reminds me of the southern peak of Vesta, which people attribute to an impact event that nearly destroyed that asteroid, leaving behind a central peak crater with a diameter as large as the asteroid itself. I have a hard time imagining an icy satellite like Hyperion surviving such an event though.

Just for grins, here's a Hubble picture of Vesta (left) and a Cassini image of Hyperion (right) shown at the same scale:

Vesta and Hyperion compared
Vesta and Hyperion compared

Read more: Cassini, pretty pictures, Saturn's small moons, Saturn's moons

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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