NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took this raw, unprocessed image of Saturn’s moon Rhea on March 10, 2012. Rhea is the second-largest moon of Saturn and the ninth largest moon in the Solar System. It was discovered in 1672 by Giovanni Domenico Cassini. Saturn’s second largest moon Rhea is an icy body with a density of about 1.236 g/cm3. Rhea is named after the Titan Rhea of Greek mythology, “mother of the gods”.
In new photo, snapped by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on January 5, 2012, Saturn’s rings cast shadows on the huge planet. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is visible just below the rings, in the upper right of the picture. Just above the rings sits the tiny moon Prometheus, barely visible as a tiny white speck. At 3,200 miles (5,150 kilometers) in diameter, Titan is nearly 50 percent wider than Earth’s moon. The only moon in our solar system larger than Titan is Ganymede, which orbits Jupiter.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has “sniffed” molecular oxygen ions around Saturn’s icy moon Dione for the first time, confirming the presence of a very tenuous atmosphere. The oxygen ions are quite sparse, one for every 0.67 cubic inches of space (one for every 11 cubic centimeters of space) or about 2,550 per cubic foot (90,000 per cubic meter), show that Dione has an extremely thin neutral atmosphere.
This series of false-color images obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows the dissolving cloud cover over the north pole of Saturn’s moon Titan. The images, obtained by Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS), cover 2006 to 2009, when Titan was transitioning from northern winter to northern spring. In 2006, the north polar cloud appeared dense and opaque. But in spectrometer images obtained around the 2009 equinox, when the sun was directly over Saturn and Titan’s equators and northern winter was turning into spring, the cloud appeared much thinner and patchier.
Saturn two biggest moons hang together in a stunning new photo from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.The image shows the heavily cratered Rhea in the foreground, while the hazy orb of the huge moon Titan looms in the distance.Cassini snapped the shot in visible green light on December 10, 2011, and it was released to the public on February 13. According to researchers Cassini was about 808,000 miles (1.3 million kilometers) from Rhea and 1.2 million miles (2 million km) from Titan when it took the picture. Titan is the largest of Saturn’s many satellites, at 3,200 miles (5,150 km) wide, it’s nearly 1.5 times bigger than Earth’s moon.
A new analysis of radar data from NASA’s Cassini mission, in partnership with the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, has revealed regional variations among sand dunes on Saturn’s moon Titan. The result gives new clues about the moon’s climatic and geological history. Dune fields are the second most dominant landform on Titan, after the seemingly uniform plains, so they offer a large-scale insight into the moon’s peculiar environment. The dunes cover about 13 percent of the surface, stretching over an area of 4 million square miles (10 million square kilometers). Though similar in shape to the linear dunes found on Earth in Namibia or the Arabian Peninsula, Titan’s dunes are gigantic by our standards.
The lower atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan is strongly structured, with two distinct layers that affect wind patterns, dune spacing and cloud formation, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Geoscience.
Engineers with NASA’s Cassini mission are conducting diagnostic testing on a part of the spacecraft’s radio system after its signal was not detected on Earth during a tracking pass in late December. The spacecraft has been communicating with Earth using a backup part. The issue occurred with the ultra-stable oscillator, which is used for one type of radio science experiment and also as a means of sending data back to Earth. The spacecraft is currently using an auxiliary oscillator, whose frequency stability is adequate for transmitting data from the spacecraft to Earth. Tests later this month will help mission managers decide whether it will be possible to bring the ultra-stable oscillator back into service.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured stunning shots of three of Saturn’s moons. The Cassini probe recently beamed home photos of Titan, Dione and Enceladus, three of Saturn’s six largest moons.