Crescent Moon Dione

by Fraser Cain on June 19, 2006

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This photograph shows Saturn’s moon Dione as a thin crescent beneath the luminous F ring. The image shows the dark side of the rings, so they’re not illuminated directly by the Sun. Cassini took this photo on May 3, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Dione.

The dark side of the ringplane glows with scattered light, including the luminous F ring, which shines like a rope of brilliant neon. Below, Dione (1,126 kilometers, or 700 miles across) presents an exquisitely thin crescent.

The image was taken using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 930 nanometers. The image was acquired with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 3, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 160 degrees. Image scale is 11 kilometers (7 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Original Source: NASA/JPL/SSI News Release

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Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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