Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 15, 2012

The Eyes of Tethys
The Eyes of Tethys

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF, for the additional process. and color.

In today's APOD, the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft took, once again, a close look at a row of almost round Impact Craters located on the Saturnian moon Tethys, during the Spacecraft's April 14, 2012, Fly-By of this mysterious Celestial Body. This row of Craters, which is made by (at least) three large Impact Basins, is clearly visible along the line of the Terminator (such as the line separating the day from the night), and the first one (looking from top to bottom) shows a lot of similarities (including the very well defined Rim and the Central Peak) with the gigantic Odysseus Crater which, in this frame, can also be seen, in profile, on the far right side of the image. While the first and the second Impact Crater show physical characteristics which make them seem (always relatively speaking) young Surface Features, the third Impact Crater, instead (such as the lowest one, whose Rim is partly missing and just barely visible) appears as an extremely old and degraded one; likely (and once we take into duly account also the Density of Impact Craters that cover it) one of the oldest Impact Craters of Tethys.

This view looks toward the area between the Leading Hemisphere and the Anti-Saturn Side of Tethys; the North of Tethys is up and rotated about 25° to the right. The frame was taken in Visible Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Wide-Angle Camera on April 14, 2012, at a distance of approximately 12.000 Miles (such as about 20.000 Kilometers) from Tethys and at a Sun-Tethys-Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 66°. The image scale is, roughly, just a half mile (a little less than 1 Kilometer) per pixel.

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 14611) has been additionally processed and then colorized, according to an informed speculation carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Surface of the Saturnian moon Tethys), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among others, the existence of different Elements present on the Surface of Tehys, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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