Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 2, 2013

Izanagi Crater
Izanagi Crater

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

Saturn's moon Rhea is an alien ice world but, in this frame-filling view, it looks vaguely familiar. Here, Rhea's heavily Cratered Surface resembles, in some ways, to our own Moon, or also to the planet Mercury. But make no mistake, because Rhea's Icy Exterior (---> Crust) would quickly melt if this moon were brought as close to the Sun as Mercury! Rhea, which is approx. 1528 Km (such as about 948,88 miles) across, preserves a record of impacts (---> an extremely large number of Impact Craters on its Surface) at its post in the Outer Solar System. For instance, the large Impact Crater visible at the center left of Rhea's Disk (on the Terminator - such as the Boundary Line between day and night), called Izanagi, is just one of the many large-sized Impact Basins existing on this icy Celestial Body.

This view shows principally Rhea's South Polar Regions and it is centered at 58° South Latitude and 265° West Longitude. The image was taken in Visible Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on August 1st, 2005, at a distance of approximately 255.000 Km (such as about 158.355 miles) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 62°. Image scale is roughly 2 Km (such as about 1,242 miles) per pixel.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 07583) has been additionally processed 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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