Just Passing By

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Tethys, rings and haze

Tethys, shown in my previous post, orbits Saturn outside the rings in this animation made from 17 raw images taken by Cassini. After passing the dark side of Saturn Tethys follows the curve of the rings, and is passed on the “inside track” by the smaller Mimas (top). Meanwhile another moon, perhaps Atlas or Pandora, quickly passes on the other side of the planet.

A slight bit of rotation can be discerned in Tethys’ motion.

Another interesting note is a layer of upper atmospheric haze visible along Saturn’s darkened limb, into which the distant rings seem to sink.

Raw images: NASA/JPL/SSI. Animation: J. Major.

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Note: I am speculating which background moons those are. I thought I could see the lit edge of Herschel crater on the first background moon, and the distant one is totally a guess based on its apparent location near the F ring. My apologies if I’m mistaken on either. Being from raw images there’s no specification on the files.