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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

The view from Iapetus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

10-09-2007 18:22 CDT

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On the way out to its date with Iapetus, Cassini snapped a broad family portrait of Saturn and all the other large moons. The portrait below was assembled by Gordan Ugarkovic. Just imagine if you were sitting astride Cassini, more than three million kilometers from Saturn; not only would this be your view, but at the relatively slow pace of your orbit about Saturn you'd get to sit there and watch the shifting positions of all of these moons as Saturn's stormy globe rotated sedately beneath them all.

Breathtaking.

Saturn family portrait (or, the view from Iapetus)

NASA / JPL / SSI / Color mosaic by Gordan Ugarkovic

Saturn family portrait (or, the view from Iapetus)
From a distance of roughly three million kilometers (two million miles), Cassini contemplated almost the entire system of Saturn, its rings, and its moons. From left to right, the moons are: Dione; Enceladus (just to the left of the rings); Mimas (just above the rings in front of the ring shadow on the left side of Saturn); Rhea (at roughly 11:00 at the edge of Saturn's disk); Tethys (to the right of and slightly above the rings); and finally orange Titan (lower right). Only one large moon is missing from the view, Iapetus, which lay almost directly behind Cassini when this family portrait was taken. This version of the portrait was composed of raw images, so the color balance and relative brightnesses of the moons are not quite correct.

 
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