Cassini captured the first clear image of Prometheus near the Saturn’s rings
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Cassini, NASA’s spacecraft responsible with exploring Saturn and its moons, is getting close to the end of its journey. Until then, it returned a breathtaking image featuring Prometheus, one of Saturn’s moons, being the closest it has ever been to the Narrow F Ring.
This year in September, Cassini will finish its Saturnian exploration in the most dramatic way, by plunging into the atmosphere of the planet on its way to self-destruction. Until then, it managed to capture an amazing picture of the moon Prometheus.
Cassini pursued all Saturn moons
This photo shows the dominance of Prometheus on the A and F rings, with the F ring being the outermost of the planet. Also, the image displays a series of waves moving around the rings, formed by the gravitational interactions going on between the planet and its moon.
So far, Cassini managed to capture breathtaking pictures of Saturn and its moons with the help of the Narrow Angle Camera. We were able to see how Mimas almost bumped into the rings, or how Daphnis was positioned in the Keeler gap. Also, we could spot water jets on Enceladus, or methane clouds on Titan.
The first clear image of Prometheus
This was the first time when Cassini captured any images of Prometheus. When it took the picture, Cassini was placed in an interesting position. It was facing the sun and the back of Saturn and Prometheus. Therefore, the picture contains a view of Prometheus’ dark side, together with a small sunlit part in its northern hemisphere.
The picture was taken on May 13th, while Cassini was at about 13 degrees above the ring plane. It was taken at a scale of 4 miles per pixel. Also, Cassini was quite far away from Saturn, namely at 680,000 miles. Until the spacecraft makes its final dive, we might expect some more photos of Saturn and its moons.
Image Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory