#NASA #Cassini – Cassini Captures Beautiful Shot Of Saturn’s Moons, Can You Spot Them? : NASA has released an image showing two moons of Saturn, captured gorgeously peeping through the rings of the planet. The photo was reportedly taken by the Cassini spacecraft on July 9 this year from a distance of about 5.5 million kilometers from Atlas.
Each pixel of the photo measures around 33 kilometers. The two moons look tiny in the photo; in fact you can nearly miss their presence in the image without prior notification. On the top left of the photo you can see Atlas orbiting the planet, and at the bottom right, playing peek-a-boo with us, is Pan.
Of course, the comparatively miniscule sizes of the two moons also contribute to their tiny effect in the image. Atlas is approximately 30 kilometers wide and Pan is smaller at a width of 28 kilometers. Saturn is said to have at least 60 more confirmed moons.
The Cassini mission is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The Cassini orbiter has two onboard cameras, and the whole unit was designed, built and assembled at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The cameras on the spacecraft are able to capture wavelengths that are beyond the abilities of conventional camera or human sight. Launched on October 15, 1997, the Cassini spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004, after a period of seven years that saw flybys of Earth, Venus and Jupiter.
Incidentally, Cassini is not the first space probe to visit Saturn, it is the fourth. However, Cassini is the first spacecraft to enter Saturn’s orbit, from where it studies the planet and its moons.
The mission alone has discovered seven new moons that orbit the ringed planet. The Cassini mission is reportedly due to end with a final descent into Saturn’s atmosphere in 2017. Source: scienceworldreport