Saturn Compass Image

Saturn Compass Image

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Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-2018-29
Release Date: Jul 26, 2018
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

Composite Image of Saturn with Six Moons

This composite image, taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on June 6, 2018, shows the ringed planet Saturn with six of its 62 known moons. From left to right, the moons visible in this image are Dione, Enceladus, Tethys, Janus, Epimetheus, and Mimas. With a diameter of 698 miles, Dione is the fourth-largest moon of Saturn and the largest of the siblings in this family portrait. The smallest satellite in this picture is the irregularly shaped Epimetheus, with a size of 89 miles by 67 miles by 61 miles.

The moons seen here are icy and cratered. Enceladus is considered a candidate for primitive life because it is outgassing water vapor from a subsurface ocean. Based on data from the NASA Cassini mission to Saturn, scientists hypothesize that a small, wayward moon like one of these disintegrated 200 million years ago to form Saturn’s ring system. The image is a composite because the moons move during the Saturn exposures, and individual frames must be realigned to make a color portrait.


Tags
Annotated Observations, Planetary Rings, Planets, Saturn, Solar System

Credits

NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC) and the OPAL Team, and J. DePasquale (STScI)