July 29, 2005
Far above the howling winds of Saturn, its icy moons circle the planet in silence. Mimas is seen near the upper right, while Tethys hovers at the bottom. Dark shadows cast by the see-through rings slice across the northern hemisphere. Mimas is 397 kilometers (247 miles) across. Tethys is 1,071 kilometers (665 miles) across.
The dark, doughnut-shaped storm near the south pole is at least 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) across and could easily swallow any of Saturn's moons except giant Titan (5,150 kilometers, 3,200 miles across).
The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on June 21, 2005, through a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 752 nanometers at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 53 degrees. The image scale is 125 kilometers (78 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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute