Enceladus Occults Rhea

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured this photograph of Saturn’s moon Rhea emerging from behind another of its moons, Enceladus. At 1,528 km (949 miles) across, Rhea is actually three times larger than Enceladus (505 km or 314 miles), but Cassini was much closer to Enceladus when it captured this occultation event on July 4, 2006.

Two slim crescents smile toward the Cassini spacecraft following an occultation event.

Taken only five minutes after Enceladus (505 kilometers, or 314 miles across) first approached the limb of Rhea (1,528 kilometers, or 949 miles across), this view shows the bright little moon emerging from behind the larger moon’s crescent. (See Enceladus Approaches for the earlier view.)

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 4, 2006 at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (800,000 miles) from Rhea and 1.9 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) from Enceladus. The view was obtained at a Sun-moon-spacecraft, or phase, angle of about 142 degrees relative to both moons. Image scale is 8 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel on Rhea and 11 kilometers (7 miles) on Enceladus.

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