As it loops around Saturn, Cassini periodically gets a good view of Saturn’s moon Hyperion. Hyperion chaotically tumbles around in its orbit and is perhaps the largest irregularly-shaped moon in the solar system. New details about this oddball worldlet will certainly come to light in September, 2005, when Cassini is slated to approach Hyperion at a distance of 990 kilometers (615 miles). Hyperion is 266 kilometers (165 miles) across.
The images were taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera in October 2004 and February 2005, at distances ranging from 1.3 to 1.6 million kilometers (808,000 to 994,000 million miles) from Hyperion and at Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angles ranging from 42 to 66 degrees. Resolution in the original images was 8 to 10 kilometers (5 to 6 miles) per pixel. The images have been contrast-enhanced and magnified by a factor of two to aid visibility.
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 team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
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Original Source: NASA/JPL/SSI News Release