Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cassini Solstice Mission: Hyperion Images

This image of Hyperion was taken by Cassini on August 25, 2011 and received on Earth August 26, 2011. 

The camera was pointing toward HYPERION at approximately 57,974 kilometers away, and the image was taken using the P120 and GRN filters. 

This image has not been validated or calibrated. A validated/calibrated image will be archived with the NASA Planetary Data System in 2012.

For more information on raw images check out our frequently asked questions section.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute 

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured new views of Saturn's oddly shaped moon Hyperion during its encounter with this cratered body on Thursday, Aug. 25.

Raw images were acquired as the spacecraft flew past the moon at a distance of about 15,500 miles (25,000 kilometers), making this the second closest encounter.

Hyperion is a small moon - just 168 miles (270 kilometers) across. It has an irregular shape and surface appearance, and it rotates chaotically as it tumbles along in orbit.

This odd rotation prevented scientists from predicting exactly what terrain the spacecraft's cameras would image during this flyby.

However, this flyby's closeness has likely allowed Cassini's cameras to map new territory. At the very least, it will help scientists improve color measurements of the moon.

It will also help them determine how the moon's brightness changes as lighting and viewing conditions change, which can provide insight into the texture of the surface.

The colour measurements provide additional information about different materials on the moon's deeply pitted surface.

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