spaceSpace and Physics

Cassini Snaps Glorious Image Of Dione Lit Up By Saturn's Reflected Light


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Feast your eyes on this beautiful image of Saturn’s moon Dione, a view of the moon seen lit not by the Sun, but by the gas giant itself.

Okay, strictly speaking, there is a crescent of the Sun’s light on the left. But the majority of Dione seen here is dimly illuminated by “Saturnshine”, reflected light from Saturn. Pretty cool, huh?


This image was snapped by Cassini from a distance of 504,000 kilometers (313,000 miles) on October 23, 2016. The scale is about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) per pixel, with Dione measuring 1,123 kilometers (698 miles) across.

At the time the image was taken, Dione was above the day side of Saturn, which caused this neat effect where its night side was lit up. For another interesting shot like this, check out this one of Mimas.

It’s the beginning of the end for Cassini though, as the spacecraft is due to plummet into Saturn in September to bring the mission to a close. Hopefully, we’ll get a few more shots like this one before it goes.


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