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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beautiful Shot of Three of Saturn's Moons

(Photo from NASA, text from New Scientist)

A study in contrasts, this photo captures three illuminated moons as a darkened Saturn looms in the shadows. Only the planet's rings are visible but its shape can be traced from the way it partially obscures its rings and one of its moons.

The large foreground moon is Rhea at 1528 kilometres across. Nearly a third of Rhea's size, sunny Enceladus is on the right. Dione, at 1123 kilometres wide, rounds out the trio to the left with a night-cloaked Saturn obstructing part of it.

The photo was taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in April. Cassini has been exploring Saturn's 62 known moons since it reached the ringed planet in 2004.

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