The Light of Night
April 25, 2008
As Cassini spacecraft images often show, the Sun is not the only source of illumination in the Saturn System. The huge, reflective planet also shines upon its moons.
This image was acquired by Cassini two minutes after Dione: North Polar View and looks almost directly at down onto the north pole of Dione (1,126 kilometers, or 700 miles across). The left side of this image is illuminated by the Sun, and most of the right side is lit by reflected light from Saturn. Several background stars made faint trails across the sky during this long exposure.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 22, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 649,000 kilometers (403,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 99 degrees. Image scale is 4 kilometers (2 miles) per pixel.
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