Thursday, January 03, 2008

Probable Future APOD from Cassini

NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute -- click to enlarge
Mimas is an old and quite battered moon. You know, the one that's 'That's No Moon', right? What's neat is that it's surface is ancient: you can date how old a surface is in the solar system by measuring the crater density. Such an old icy surface has been darkened to an albedo of 0.50 (50% reflectivity). And it compares so dramatically against the next moon out, Encedalus, which has fewer craters and is the brightest surface in the solar system: an albedo of 0.99 (99% of light reflects back from it).

The Cassini spacecraft peers through the fine, smoke-sized ice particles of Saturn's F ring toward the cratered face of Mimas. The F ring's core, which contains significantly larger particles, is dense enough to completely block the light from Mimas.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 18, 2007. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 772,000 kilometers from Mimas

This one is nice.
But this one is in color!

Via Planetary Society Blog, a Cassini image that will likely be a future Astronomy Picture of the Day.

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