Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 7, 2012

Methone
Methone

Credits: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

Like the NASA People said, it is quite difficult not to think of an egg when looking at Saturn's moon Methone, seen here during a close Fly-By carried out by the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft during the last May; furthermore, the relatively smooth Surface of this Celestial Body adds to the effect created by its oblong shape (as a matter fact, and at this resolution, no obvious Impact Surface Features are visible, and the only almost recognizable reliefs that we can see are some sort of Linear Fractures that, apparently starting from the lower left of the moon - such as the South/West of Methone -, run to its North-North/East and to the South/East).


Small moons like Methone are not generally spherical like the larger moons, and the reason is that they lack sufficient Gravity to pull themselves into a round shape. The Lit Terrain seen here is located on the Leading Side of Methone (which is about 2 miles, such as a little more than 3 Km across). North is up.


The image was taken in Visible Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on May 20, 2012, at a distance of approximately 2500 miles (such as about 4000 Km) from Methone and at a Sun-Methone-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 63°. The scale in the original image was 88 feet (27 meters) per pixel.


This picture (which is an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 14633) has been additionally processed and then colorized, according to an informed speculation carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXXT/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 Saturnian Outer moon, Methone), 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 other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of Methone, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.



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