NASA’s Cassini spacecraft obtained this unprocessed image on December 12, 2011. The camera was pointing toward Saturn’s moon Dione from approximately 48,236 miles (77,682 kilometers) away. Cassini is expected to glide about 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) over the Titan surface on December 13. In the selection of the raw images obtained during the Cassini Dione flyby, Dione is sometimes joined by other moons. Mimas appears just beyond the dark side of Dione in one view. In another view, Epimetheus and Pandora appear together, along with Saturn’s rings. This Dione encounter was intended primarily for Cassini‘s composite infrared spectrometer and radio science subsystem.
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However, the imaging team did capture views of the distinctive, wispy fractures on the side of Dione that always trails in its orbit around Saturn. It also obtained images of a ridge called Janiculum Dorsa on the hemisphere of Dione that always leads in its orbit around Saturn. Janiculum Dorsa will be imaged by Cassini at higher resolution in May 2012.