The True Shape of Phoebe

Photojournal: PIA06070

December 17, 2004

This colorful graphic illustrates that despite Phoebe's bumpy, irregular topography, the moon has a fairly round shape. A digitally rendered shape model of Phoebe was constructed using Cassini imaging data obtained before and after the spacecraft's close flyby of the Saturnian moon on June 11, 2004.

The average diameter of Phoebe is about 214 kilometers (133 miles). The four views of the model are each separated by a 90 degree rotation; the upper left is centered at 0 degrees West longitude. The others show regions of the moon centered at 90, 180 and 270 degrees West longitude, as labeled. The coloring of the models corresponds to the height of Phoebe's surface, relative to the lowest point - a range of about 16 kilometers (10 miles) - going from blue (low) to red (high). Interestingly, much of this range in height occurs in one large crater, visible in the 180 degree West view.

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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit, and the Cassini imaging team home page, .

Image Credit:NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute