February 23, 2009
At first glance, it seems Epimetheus is the lone moon orbiting Saturn in this image, but a closer inspection reveals a couple of companions in the rings.
Circling brightly outside the rings in the lower right of the image is Epimetheus (113 kilometers, or 70 miles across). On the left of the image is tiny Pan (28 kilometers, or 17 miles across), a small gray dot cutting through the Encke Gap of the outer A ring. Atlas (30 kilometers, or 19 miles across) is an even fainter dot orbiting between the A ring and the thin F ring in the lower central part of the image.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 16 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 20, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1 million kilometers (620,000 miles) from Atlas and at a Sun-Atlas-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 33 degrees. Image scale is 64 kilometers (40 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