July 1, 2013
The Cassini spacecraft catches a glimpse of Janus, an irregularly shaped moon. Lacking sufficient gravity to pull itself into a round shape, Janus has had its lumpy primordial shape only slightly modified by impacts since its formation.
See Profile of Janus and Blasted Janus for higher resolution views of Janus (111 miles, or 179 kilometers across). See The Dancing Moons and Janus-Epimetheus Swing to learn about how Janus periodically swaps orbits with Epimetheus.
This view looks toward the trailing hemisphere of Janus. North on Janus is up and rotated 44 degrees to the left. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 28, 2013.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 780,000 miles (1.3 million kilometers) from Janus and at a Sun-Janus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 77 degrees. Image scale is 5 miles (7 kilometers) 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 in Washington. 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-Caltech/Space Science Institute