Stunning New Images From Cassini’s Close Flyby of Rhea

Article written: 13 Jan , 2011
Updated: 19 Jan , 2016

Rhea, Saturn's rings and some sister moons. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Jia-Rui C. Cook from the Cassini team sent out an alert that raw images from Cassini’s closest flyby of Saturn’s moon Rhea have begun streaming to Cassini’s raw image page, and they are well worth a look. At closest approach, Cassini came within about 69 kilometers (43 miles) of Rhea’s surface on Jan. 11. But there’s also some interesting group photos from within the Saturn System. One of the best is this image, above. How many moons can you find? I probably wouldn’t have seen them all but Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Blog spied five moons and the rings in this one wide-angle shot. The large moon is Rhea; above Rhea and just below the rings, is Dione; above and to the left of Rhea is Tethys. Then there are two tiny moons: squint hard to see Prometheus as tiny lump on the rings to the left of Dione, and Epimetheus is hovering between Tethys and Rhea. See some more, including closeups of Rhea and Saturn’s storm, below.

Rhea dwarfs Dione, which appears to be stuck on Saturn's rings. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

X marks the spot on Rhea. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Closeup of Rhea's craters. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

The storm on Saturn is spreading, as seen in this latest image taken on January 12, 2011 by Cassini. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

See more at Cassini’s raw image page.

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13 Responses

  1. J. Major says

    What an awesome flyby! There sure are lots to look at from this pass!
    I particularly liked the shot of Rhea’s craters seen at an angle, and then there was a cool close-up of a crater rim that took a second to figure out. Good stuff!

  2. SteveZodiac says


  3. munisano says

    What is that faint blip below Saturn’s rings but to the right of Rhea and Dione?

  4. Member
    Aqua says

    You gotta love that spacecraft!

  5. wjwbudro says

    This amazing mission epitomizes what collaboration can accomplish.

  6. astronome anglais says

    Here’s a quick levels adjusted version (using PS curves), to bring out more surface detail:
    Exciting times with all of the recent news on UT, whether it be planetary missions, cosmology or phenomena on Earth!

  7. Olaf says

    We need more webcams out there around all planets!

  8. Spacemad says

    These images of Saturn & its moons are really fantastic! Bravo for the Cassini imaging team! Hurrahs for Emily also for making the images so easy available to us on her blog & finally for Nancy & her brilliant commentaries as always!

Comments are closed.