Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fly By

Beautiful picture snapped by Cassini, still orbiting Saturn, still waltzing amid the moons and rings. It does a fly-by of Titan in four and a half hours, according to the Cassini site.

I read recently that NASA uses Titan to make changes in Cassini's orbit. The fly-bys change Cassini's trajectory, and allow NASA to swing it pretty much wherever they want. That's how they got it to fly through the vapor plume on Enceladus last year. Quite cool.

That's Titan in the background, tiny Epimetheus in the foreground.

The picture is from the Astronomy Picture of the Day.


Eric Shonkwiler said...

How far away is Cassini that the rings appear solid?

Gordo said...

I was going to comment, but I'm struck speechless. "Cool" just doesn't seem to cut it.

Clowncar said...

No idea, E. I'm guessing they'd look solid from pretty close up, cause there are so many tiny particles (they've been colliding and breaking into ever smaller pieces for a few million years). It might look more like fog than individual particles up close.

Not too much you can say, Gordo. Sure is pretty, though.