Friday, August 26, 2005

New Mimas Image: First Quarter Mimas

CICLOPS today released this view of Mimas taken on July 18. In this image, Mimas was at half-phase, allowing Cassini scientists to view craters along the terminator even from this distance. In the background is a portion of Saturn's northern hemisphere, shaded by the shadows of its ring system. This image was taken from a distance of 1.6 million kilometers from Mimas and has a scale of 10 km/pixel.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

T6 Released Images

CICLOPS has released two processed views of Titan's surface from images taken during Monday's T6 flyby. Not many useful surface images were taken during this encounter, but the above wide-angle image does show the surface as it looked on Monday. Shortly before, Cassini took at visible color view of Titan, showing Titan to be nothing but a bland ball of light orange.

The surface image shows the "H" region of Titan. The southern branch is now named Aztlan, after the Aztec homeland. Aztlan also includes the large, roughly circular region to the east with a bright "island" named Elba Facula in the middle. North of Aztlan is a couple of bright islands collectively known as Quivira. Finally, norh of Quivira, is a bright "island" with a dark spot in the middle (known to be an 80-km wide crater) known as Bazaruto Facula.

New Rhea Image: Above Rhea's South Pole

This global view of Rhea, taken on July 14, was released today by CICLOPS. This image, with a resolution of 2 km/pixel, shows the south polar region of Rhea, an area not seen at decent resolution before this non-targeted encounter. Very few non-impact related features are seen in this view, indicating that Rhea has a very ancient surface. A fairly young crater with bright ejecta extending for hundreds of kilometers can be seen at upper right. This impact crater has been seen on numerous occasions, and higher resolution images show that the crater has an irregular margin, perhaps indicating that while young, the impact has undergone alteration since formation. The fact that nearly all craters on Rhea show irregular outlines may also be an indication that something about Rhea's surface leads to the formation of irregular shaped craters.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

New Tethys Image: With the Band

CICLOPS has released this view of Tethys taken on July 10 from a distance of 1.8 million kilometers (for a resolution of 11 km/pixel). This image shows Odysseus crater near the terminator at upper left as well as the crater Melanthus at lower left. One striking feature noted numerous times here is the dark band on Tethys that runs from west to east from southwestern Odysseus basin to Ithaca Chasma. The origin of this feature is currently unknown. Overall, the albedo of this region of Tethys looks stratified, with brighter material in the southern hemisphere, the dark stripe, and then intermediate albedo material in the north, though this could just be a lighting effect.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

New Pandora Image: Pandora Glides Along

This image, released today, shows Pandora transiting Saturn as seen from Cassini. In this view, both Saturn and Pandora are at moderate phase angles (you can even see the night side of Pandora against the dawn sky of Saturn.

This image was taken on July 16 from a distance of 1.3 million km. The resolution for this image is 6 km/pixel (for Pandora).

Monday, August 22, 2005

New Cassini Image: Supreme Beauty

CICLOPS released view of Tethys in front of a beautiful shot of Saturn. Nice catch!