Cassini captures stunning image of "bull's-eye" Saturnian moons
NASA's Cassinispacecraft has captured a perfectly-timed image featuring Saturn'smoon Enceladus traversing the face of its larger companion Tethys.Also present in the image is Saturn's distinctive ring system.
The image was capturedby 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.
The alignment of themoons presents a fairly accurate portrayal of the satellite's sizesrelative to each other. At these distances, each of the pixels thatmake up Enceladus has a resolution of 7 miles (12 km) per pixel, whilethe pixel scale of Tethys is lower at 10 miles (16 km) per pixel.
Cassini recentlycompleted a plunge through one of Enceladus' icy plumes with the aimof collecting information that could shed light on the potentialhabitability of the icy moon's subsurface ocean. The probe's finalclose approach to the iconic satellite will take place at a distanceof 3,106 miles (4,999 km) on Dec. 19.