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This image represents Cassiniís best view yet of Saturnís battered and chaotically rotating little moon Hyperion (270 kilometers, 168 miles across). Cassini was, at the time, speeding away from the Saturn system on its initial long, looping orbit.
Hyperion has an irregular shape and is known to tumble erratically in its orbit. Cassini is slated to fly past this moon on September 26, 2005.
The image was taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera on July 15, 2004, from a distance of about 6.7 million kilometers (4.1 million miles) from Hyperion and at a Sun- Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 95 degrees. The image scale is 40 kilometers (25 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of four to aid visibility.
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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.