When Moons Align
December 2, 2005
In a rare moment, the Cassini spacecraft captured this enduring portrait of a near-alignment of four of Saturn's restless moons. Timing is critical when trying to capture a view of multiple bodies, like this one. All four of the moons seen here were on the far side of the rings from the spacecraft when this image was taken; and about an hour later, all four had disappeared behind Saturn.
Seen here are Titan (5,150 kilometers, or 3,200 miles across) and Dione (1,126 kilometers, or 700 miles across) at bottom; Prometheus (102 kilometers, or 63 miles across) hugs the rings at center; Telesto (24 kilometers, or 15 miles across) is a mere speck in the darkness above center.
This image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 17, 2005, at a distance of approximately 3.4 million kilometers (2.1 million miles) from Titan and 2.5 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Dione. The image scale is 16 kilometers (10 miles) per pixel on Dione and 21 kilometers (13 miles) per pixel on Titan.
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 mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute