Subscribe

Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis
[contact-form-7 id="1210" html_class="cf7_custom_style_1"]

Subscribe elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae eleifend ac, enim. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus.

[contact-form-7 id="984" html_class="cf7_custom_style_1"]

Subscribe elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae eleifend ac, enim. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus.

[contact-form-7 id="984" html_class="cf7_custom_style_1"]

Cassini spies tiny moon Epimetheus next to Saturn’s rings

Saturn is a lot of people’s favourite planet due to its resplendent rings. Some of those rings – made of house-sized chunks of ice – have recently been snapped by the Cassini space probe alongside the planet’s diminutive moon Epimetheus (just 113 kilometres across). Released today, but taken on December 5, 2014, Cassini was 2 million kilometres away when it took the image.

Cassini see Saturn’s A and F rings, as well as moon Epimetheus. [credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute]

Moons like Epimetheus help astronomers understand the rings. As Saturn’s moons pull on the them, they create ripples. The size of these waves acts as a way of measuring the rings’ mass. It seems the rings have a mass about the same as another of Saturn’s moons – Mimas. Whilst we don’t know for sure where the rings came from, our best guess is that a moon about the same size as Mimas was once torn to pieces by Saturn’s immense gravity.

Cassini has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004 and continues to deliver both exquisite images and data.

Leave a comment

FREE E-BOOK

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to get cutting-edge, fascinating astronomy stories straight to your inbox every Monday.

New subscribers also receive Stars and Hearts - an exclusive FREE E-BOOK exploring how astronomy is helping boost healthcare here on Earth.
First Name
Last Name
Email address