Epimetheus Falls Behind
May 16, 2006
Janus and Epimetheus continue to separate, following their orbital swap in January 2006. Until 2010, Janus will remain the innermost of the pair, whose orbits around Saturn are separated by only about 50 kilometers (31 miles) on average.
Epimetheus (116 kilometers, or 72 miles across) appears just right of the bright A ring ansa, or edge, while Janus (181 kilometers, or 113 miles across) is seen near upper right. (See The Dancing Moons for a closer view of these dancing moons.)
The faint F ring extends across the image; Janus appears directly between its near and far edges.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 16, 2006, at a distance of approximately 3.7 million kilometers (2.3 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 22 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel on Janus and Epimetheus.
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