Cassini captures stunning image of "bull's-eye" Saturnian moons
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured a perfectly-timed image featuring Saturn's moon Enceladus traversing the face of its larger companion Tethys. Also present in the image is Saturn's distinctive ring system.
The image was captured by Cassini's narrow-angle camera from a distance of roughly 1.3 million miles (2.1 million km) from Enceladus, with the more distant Tethys looming behind the smaller moon some 1.6 million miles (2.6 million km) from the spacecraft.
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The alignment of the moons presents a fairly accurate portrayal of the satellite's sizes relative to each other. At these distances, each of the pixels that make up Enceladus has a resolution of 7 miles (12 km) per pixel, while the pixel scale of Tethys is lower at 10 miles (16 km) per pixel.
Cassini recently completed a plunge through one of Enceladus' icy plumes with the aim of collecting information that could shed light on the potential habitability of the icy moon's subsurface ocean. The probe's final close approach to the iconic satellite will take place at a distance of 3,106 miles (4,999 km) on Dec. 19.