Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 17, 2013

More than Oblate!
More than Oblate!

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

This view, obtained by the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft in the late May of the AD 2005, shows us, principally, the Leading Hemisphere of Mimas with the moon's largest Impact Basin, Herschel (approx. 130 Km - or 80,73 miles - wide), that is centered roughly on the Equator and which can be seen quite clearly here. North on Mimas is toward the upper left of the picture and the moon's oblateness, here, appears really exaggerated because of the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's viewing Angle - such as the Sun-Mimas-Cassini Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle - that was of only degrees (and thus capable to leave a thin sliver of the moon's - a sliver located on its North/Western Limb - in the shadows).


The image was taken in Visible Light with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on May 20, 2005, at a distance of approximately 916.000 Km (such as about 568.836 miles) from Mimas and the resolution in the original frame was roughly 5 Km (such as 3,105 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, magnified to aid visibility of the Surface details 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.


Note: it is possible (but we, as IPF, have no way to be one-hundred-percent sure of such a circumstance), that the actual luminosity of Mimas - as it is in this frame - would appear, to an average human eye, way lower than it has been shown (or, better yet: interpreted) here.



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