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  Cassini's last visit to MimasMar 17, 2017 12:21 AM PDT | url | discuss | + share
 
Added 1 new A* page:Just as NASA's Cassini probe, in its final tour of the Saturnian system, last week returned some great up-close photos of the tiny moon Pan, now it has got some from about the same distance (25,000 km) of the larger moon Mimas:
 
Image
image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (source)
 
If you crank up the brightness and contrast, you can even see the side of the moon that is dark in the above image, since it is actually very faintly illuminated by light reflected from Saturn itself:
 
Image
 
NASA has a less grainy but also less seamless mosiac image doing that on the same NASA source page.
 
This is not the closest Cassini has come to Mimas; in 2010, it passed within 9,500 km in 2010, and got a clearer if less dramatically lit image of the Moon, including its large crater Herschel, which is about the right size to make Mimas look kind of like the Death Star from Star Wars (although in this case, it is a moon : p):
 
Image
image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (source)
 
Mimas is about 400 km across, but if you look closely at those photos, it might start to look a little funny to you; you see, it isn't quite round! It's "about 10%" taller than it is wide—prolate—due to the tidal force Saturn exerts upon it, scrunching it up a bit.
 
 
 
 
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