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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Saturn's innermost moons: Pan, Daphnis, Atlas, Prometheus, Pandora, Epimetheus, Janus, and Mimas, to scale

Filed under pretty pictures, Cassini, scale comparisons, amateur image processing, Saturn's small moons, Saturn's moons, Saturn, Mimas

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Saturn's innermost moons: Pan, Daphnis, Atlas, Prometheus, Pandora, Epimetheus, Janus, and Mimas, to scale The eight innermost moons of Saturn, in color images collected by Cassini between June 7, 2005, and July 5, 2010. Pan and Daphnis (top left small moons) orbit within the Encke and Keeler gaps in the rings; Atlas (below Pan and Daphnis) orbits at the outer edge of the main rings. To their right are Prometheus and Pandora; Prometheus orbits just inside and Pandora just outside the F ring. Below them are Epimetheus (left) and Janus (right), which trade positions every four years, averaging out to the same distance from Saturn. Mimas orbits considerably farther away, but its gravitational effects influence the positions of gaps and waves within the rings. At full resolution, the montage has a scale of 500 meters per pixel.

NASA / JPL / SSI / Gordan Ugarkovic / Emily Lakdawalla

All of the color composites except Pan were produced by Gordan Ugarkovic. Some original color composites were approximate true color (RGB) and some enhanced color (IRGUV). Emily Lakdawalla adjusted their color to make the moons appear similar in color and brightness. Mimas was left more gray (less red) than the smaller moons, which is true to life, but the relative color and brightness differences among the different moons are not intended to be precise representations of reality. The image of Pan (the highest-resolution available) was a monochrome observation, and has been colorized to roughly match the appearance of the others.

Images were selected for their resolution and for similar phase angle. Phase angles range from 33 degrees (Prometheus) to 86 degrees (Pan). The images were resized to a common scale and rotated so that illumination appears to be coming from the right.

Some information about the observations:

BodyImage dateRange (km)Phase
Pan 2006-10-27 384351 86°
Daphnis 2010-07-05 75685 59°
Atlas 2005-06-08 162388 42°
Prometheus 2009-12-26 56508 33°
Pandora 2005-09-05 52264 50°
Epimetheus 2007-12-03 37116 66°
Janus 2010-04-07 74714 38°

Copyright holder: Emily Lakdawalla

Copyright holder: Gordan Ugarkovic

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Contact us to request publication permission from the copyright holder. Original image data dated on or about July 5, 2010


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