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Saturn's Moon Helene in Color

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posted on May, 2 2012 @ 02:22 AM
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Strangely shaped Helene is the leading co-orbital companion of Saturn's second-largest moon, Rhea. Cassini flew past it on June 18, 2011, acquiring numerous images from a range of phase angles. This image was taken from a distance of 7,000 kilometers and has a resolution of about 42 meters per pixel. It is an approximately natural color view composed of red-, green-, and blue-filter images.

The co-orbital moons appear to collect lots of fine dust. In Helene's case, this fine dust has cascaded downhill to fill local topographic lows that likely originated as craters. More resistant material juts above the dusty slopes.


Although its colors may be subtle, Saturn's moon Helene is an enigma in any light. The moon was imaged in unprecedented detail last June as the robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn swooped to within a single Earth diameter of the diminutive moon. Although conventional craters and hills appear, the above image also shows terrain that appears unusually smooth and streaked. Planetary astronomers are inspecting these detailed images of Helene to glean clues about the origin and evolution of the 30-km across floating iceberg. Helene is also unusual because it circles Saturn just ahead of the large moon Dione, making it one of only four known Saturnian moons to occupy a gravitational well known as a stable Lagrange point.


APOD

See also this breathtaking animation of the Cassini Flyby during June 2011:



Original TIFF pictures can be seen at photojournal NASA
edit on 2-5-2012 by elevenaugust because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 2 2012 @ 02:47 AM
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Thanks for sharing, that's an ugly scary moon, looks more like an asteroid trapped by the gravity of the planet.

Saturn : You can keep it.



 
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