Image Cache: We know the Cassini spacecraft around Saturn took this photo of a trio of moons. Rhea and Enceladus are easy to spy bracketing Saturn’s rings. So fess up: Which one of you stole Atlas?
Browse through the cool photos, animations and diagrams in Gizmodo’s Image Cache here.
The Cassini spacecraft snapped this photo on 24 September 2015 when it was between 1.6 and 3.2 million kilometres from each of the moons. But the subsequent difference in scales isn’t the only thing hiding Atlas from sight. The moon is just 30km across, downright minuscule compared to the heftier Rhea (1527km in diameter) and Enceladus (504km in diameter).
If we start working through the relative sizes and distances, Rhea takes up 95 pixels across and Enceladus just over 60, but poor little Atlas is just 2 pixels in diameter. No wonder it’s hard to spot!
After over a decade of science, the Cassini spacecraft is currently on its farewell tour of the Saturn system. It will be performing ever-more daring feats of orbital dynamics this year in the lead up to its final plunge into the gas giant in 2017.