Thursday, 9 March 2017

New images of Saturn’s walnut-shaped moon dazzle scientists

Carolyn Porco/NASA

Even as it nears a sad end in September, the Cassini spacecraft is continuing to delight as it makes some of its final orbits through the Saturn system. As part of these "ring-grazing" maneuvers, the spacecraft has just returned the best-ever images of the small, walnut-shaped moon Pan.

The moon, which has a diameter of about 35km and is one of the innermost satellites in the Saturn system, orbits in the Encke Gap. Carolyn Porco, imaging lead for the Cassini mission, shared some of the images Thursday on Twitter, noting "Pan in mind-blowing detail with its unmistakable accretionary equatorial bulge." (All of the raw images can be found here).

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from New images of Saturn’s walnut-shaped moon dazzle scientists

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