CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Closest Dione Flyby
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Closest Dione Flyby
PIA 14590

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  Flying past Saturn's moon Dione, Cassini captured this view which includes two smaller moons, Epimetheus and Prometheus, near the planet's rings.

The image was taken in visible light with Cassini's narrow-angle camera during the spacecraft's flyby of Dione on Dec. 12, 2011. This encounter was the spacecraft's closest pass of the moon's surface, but, because this flyby was intended primarily for other Cassini instruments, it did not yield Cassini's best images of the moon. Higher resolution images were obtained during earlier flybys (see PIA07638).

Dione (698 miles, 1123 kilometers across) is closest to Cassini here and is on the left of the image. Potato-shaped Prometheus (53 miles, 86 kilometers across) appears above the rings near the center top of the image. Epimetheus (70 miles, 113 kilometers across) is on the right.

This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from less than one degree above the ring plane. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 67,000 miles (109,000 kilometers) from Dione. Image scale is 2,122 feet (647 meters) per pixel on Dione.

The Cassini Solstice Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. 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.

For more information about the Cassini Solstice Mission visit http://ciclops.org, http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: January 16, 2012 (PIA 14590)
Image/Caption Information


Alliance Member Comments
enceladus5 (Jan 16, 2012 at 10:35 PM):
What a beautiful image. Prometheus and Epimetheus make nice additions for the dione flyby.We get three moons for the price of one.

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