Astronomy Picture of the Day

4,500 Kilometers Above Dione

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#81231 by @ 27.10.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
4,500 Kilometers Above Dione

What does the surface of Saturn's moon Dione look like?

To find out, the
robot Cassini spacecraft
currently orbiting
flew right past the fourth largest moon of the giant planet earlier this month.

Pictured above
is an image taken about 4,500 kilometers above
Dione's icy surface,
spanning about 23 kilometers.

Fractures, grooves, and craters in
Dione's ice and rock are visible.

In many cases, surface features are caused by unknown processes and can only be described.

Many of the
craters have bright walls but
dark floors, indicating that fresher ice is brighter.

Nearly parallel grooves run from the upper right to the lower left.

Fractures sometimes across the bottom of craters, indicating a relatively recent formation.

The lip of a 60-kilometer wide crater runs from the middle left to the upper
center of the image, while the crater's center is visible on the lower right.

Images like this
will continue to be
studied to better understand
Dione as well as
Saturn's complex system of
rings and

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