Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 28, 2013

In the Saturnshine
In the Saturnshine

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

Some Southern Terrain on the Gas-Giant Planet Saturn's moon Rhea is dimly illuminated by the Saturnshine (---> the Saturnian equivalent, on Rhea, of the Moonshine, on Earth) in this NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's view of the dark side of the moon. The camera of Cassini is looking toward the night side of Rhea (which is approx. 1530 Km - such as about 950 miles - across), but the Sunlight reflected off the day side of the immense Saturn is bright enough to illuminate the Surface - with all its Impact Craters - seen here. This view is centered on Terrain located at 23° South Latitude and 315° West Longitude. If you look carefully beyond the Limb of Rhea, you will notice that 4 (four) background Stars are visible.

The image was taken in Visible Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Wide-Angle Camera on August, 1st, 2011. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 6000 Km (such as about 3726 miles) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 113°. Scale in the original image was 800 meters (such as 2600 feet) per pixel.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 14574) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, and then colorized 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 moon Rhea), 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 Rhea, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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