Color versions of the recent Titan & moon beauty shots
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla
02-06-2011 13:46 CDT
Last week I got very excited about a set of pictures that had appeared on Cassini's raw images website, but was sad that I couldn't make color versions myself. I was so excited that I failed to identify the little icy moon in the picture correctly -- at the time I said it was Enceladus, but it's been pointed out to me that it's actually two different moons, Dione and Tethys, neither of which is Enceladus. Sorry!
Anyway, I'm very happy that I can now share color versions with you, courtesy of Ian Regan and Sean Walker. First, Ian's image, which is composed of images taken when Dione was passing behind Titan while both were in front of Saturn and the rings. The rings, viewed edge-on, are just a skinny line, but they make their presence known in the shadows they throw onto Saturn's southern hemisphere:
This other image shows Titan with Tethys. Tethys and Dione are nearly identical in size, but Tethys appears relatively smaller here because it is closer to Saturn than Dione (and thus more distant from Cassini). Look carefully at the "black" background in this photo and you'll see that Saturn's night side is also visible, at least its northern hemisphere, which is lit by sunlight reflected off of the rings.
Cool stuff! While I'm posting pictures of moons posing in front of Saturn, I have to add this one that was recently shared by Mike Malaska. Unlike the two images above, this view, of Helene in front of Saturn, was made from data released to the Planetary Data System.