Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 16, 2013

Definitely, Not a Sphere!
Definitely, Not a Sphere!

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

In this picture, the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft revealed the heavily cratered Surface of the Saturnien moon Mimas, whose low density suggests that it is primarily composed of Ice, and which is characterized by an obvious flattened (or oblate) shape. As a matter of fact, the moon's Equatorial Dimension is nearly 10% (ten-percent) larger than the Polar one, and this circumstance is - also, but not only - due to the satellite's extremely rapid rotation. Mimas is approx. 400 Km (such as aout 248,4 miles) across. This view looks toward the Trailing Hemisphere of Mimas, North is up and rotated to the left.


The image was taken in Visible Green Light, with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on October 14, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 273.000 Km (such as about 169.533 miles) from Mimas and at a Sun-Mimas-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of . Image scale is roughly 2 Km (such as about 1,242 miles) per pixel.


This frame (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 07534) 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 Mimas), 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 Mimas, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.



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