Sunday, 2 January 2011

The moons of Saturn

I was looking back over last year’s images and discovered I’d managed to reveal the Saturnian moons Mimas and Hyperion. Admittedly, Hyperion, a porous moon full of deep holes is hard to see, but is one of the blobs of ‘noise’. I had to chop off Iapetus, which was clearly seen, along with a 13th magnitude star, way out to the right. This view was obtained at 2250UT on 10 May 2010. From left to right you have: Titan, Rhea, Dione with Hyperion pretty close to its lower left, Saturn, Mimas, Enceladus. Tethys was behind the planet at this time. The shallow ring angle and reasonable seeing helped pick out these tiny moons. This brings my Saturnian moon total to 9. The outer moon, Phoebe, on an earlier image, is now thought to have produced a huge outer ring causing Iapetus’s dark side. Mimas is an amazing object, with a huge crater like the death star, and it causes the Cassini division in the rings.

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