Quartet and Crescent
September 10, 2010
Four of Saturn's moons join the planet for a well balanced portrait.
Saturn's largest moon, Titan (5,150 kilometers, or 3,200 miles across), is in the lower left. Tethys (1,062 kilometers, or 660 miles across) is in the upper right. Although those moons appear to be above and below the rings from this vantage point, the moons actually orbit nearly within the ringplane.
The smaller moons Pandora and Epimetheus are barely visible here. Pandora (81 kilometers, or 50 miles across) appears as a tiny speck on the extreme left, near the rings. Epimetheus (113 kilometers, or 70 miles across) can be detected above the rings near the middle left of the image. To enhance visibility, Pandora and Epimetheus have been brightened by a factor of two relative to the planet, rings, Titan and Tethys.
This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 3 degrees below the ringplane.
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 17, 2010 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 728 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.5 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 104 degrees. Image scale is 147 kilometers (91 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