The “Front” Side of Tethys

This is a color image of Saturn’s moon Tethys I made from raw images acquired by Cassini on Feb. 1, 2017 in visible-light color channels. It shows the moon’s sunlit leading side—the face that aims in the direction that it moves in its orbit around Saturn. (Click image for a larger version.) While this icy moon is…

Soar Over the Surface of Tethys with Cassini

On Nov. 11, 2015, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft passed relatively closely by Saturn’s moon Tethys, one of the ringed planet’s larger icy satellites. The animation above was made from 29 raw images acquired with Cassini’s narrow-angle camera as it passed by; you can see part of the incredibly cratered and ancient surface of this 662 mile (1,065 km) wide…

A Profile Portrait of Tethys

Here’s a beautiful view of Saturn’s moon Tethys (pronounced TEE-this) captured by the Cassini spacecraft’s narrow-angle camera on May 9, 2015. The moon’s 250-mile Odysseus crater can be seen along the right limb there, illuminated by sunlight, while the left side is lit by the dimmer reflected light from Saturn. Tethys itself is 662 miles (1,065…

A Little Pas de Deux: Tethys and Dione

Saturn’s moon Tethys, its giant Odysseus crater in plain view, passes in front of of the slightly darker Dione in this animation made from several raw images acquired by Cassini earlier this month. Pretty cool!

Tethys and Saturn

    660-mile-wide Tethys orbits in front of Saturn and the rings in this image from Cassini, taken on March 8, 2011. The rings cast their shadows onto the Saturn’s southern equatorial cloudtops as the planet continues moving into its summer season. The 155-mile-wide Melanthius Crater can be seen near Tethys’ south pole. A smaller…

Dione and Tethys in Passing

Two of Saturn’s moons pass each other from Cassini’s perspective on December 6, 2010, in this animation compiled from 70 raw image files. This was more an experiment in using iMovie HD to create an animation from a lot of individual images than anything else…I didn’t take the time to clean up the specks and…

And the Award for Leading Trojan Moon Goes To…

Drumroll please… the little moon Telesto! (You like it, you really like it!) This image, captured by Cassini on Jan. 14, 2016, shows Saturn’s moon Telesto – a “leading trojan” of the much larger satellite Tethys. A trojan moon is one that orbits a parent body within the same path as a more massive satellite,…

Dawn Finds Similarities Between Ceres and Saturn’s Moons

Around 600 miles wide, covered in craters and cliffs, a composition of rock and water ice… these are descriptions of both several of Saturn’s moons and the dwarf planet Ceres, based on recent observations by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. New topographical maps show that, in terms of surface features anyway, Ceres shares similarities with Saturn’s icy…

Saturn’s Backlit Beauty

As a sort of Christmas gift to the world, the Cassini mission team released this image today, a majestic mosaic showing the planet Saturn gleaming in backlit sunlight. “Of all the many glorious images we on Cassini have received from Saturn, none are more strikingly unusual than those we have taken from within Saturn’s shadow,”…

Mighty Melanthius

The 662-mile-wide Tethys is one of the most heavily cratered worlds in the solar system, tied with sister moons Rhea and Dione. In this recent raw image captured by Cassini on April 14, we can see some of the moon’s larger craters, including Melanthius with its enormous central peak.

Rugged Rhea

Here’s a color-composite image of Rhea, made from raw images acquired by Cassini during a flyby on March 10, 2012. The color is derived from images taken in infrared, green and ultraviolet light.

A Fistful of Moons

This image from Cassini shows no less than five of Saturn’s moons in the same frame: Rhea (1,528 kilometers, or 949 miles across) is largest in the foreground; Dione (1,123 kilometers, or 698 miles across) can be seen just above the rings below Rhea near the center; Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across) is just barely…