Rhea and Titan, Saturn’s two largest moons, align in Cassini’s lens in this image taken on November 19, 2009. I level-adjusted and rotated the original raw image file…”north” would be to the right in this view.
Rhea is 949 miles wide, cold, icy and airless. Titan, 3,200 miles wide, is also frigidly cold but is covered by an opaque atmosphere ten times denser than Earth’s, where hydrocarbon rain drizzles over ice mountains and collects into methane lakes. These two moons, over 430,000 miles apart in this image (that’s almost twice the distance between Earth and our Moon), couldn’t be more different but for the fact that they are locked in orbit around the same planet.
The Cassini spacecraft will be taking a closer look at Rhea in the next few days…stay tuned for new images to be posted from the upcoming encounter!
Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute/J. Major