Mimas and Pan
December 11, 2009
The Cassini spacecraft captures a couple of small moons in this image taken while the spacecraft was nearly in the plane of Saturn's rings.
Near the top of this image, a crescent Mimas (396 kilometers, or 246 miles across) is closer to Cassini than the rings are. Pan (28 kilometers, or 17 miles across) is visible as a tiny dot in the Encke Gap of the A ring near the middle of the bottom of the image.
This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 19, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.1 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Pan. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 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