Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 31, 2013

Phoebe's Skyline (Part II)
Phoebe's Skyline (Part II)

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

Even in this suggestive picture, the Saturnian Outer moon Phoebe keeps its promise to reveal new wonders to the NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft, by showing some more evidence (as we already mentioned in yesterday's APOD) of its "Inner Nature". In fact, many Planetary Scientists now believe that Phoebe is actually a Water Ice-rich Celestial Body overlain with a thin Layer of Dark Material (a Material that, as of today, is still of unknown origin).


The sharply-defined Impact Crater that is well visible just above the center of the frame, exhibits two (or more) Layers of alternating Bright and Dark Material. and the Imaging scientists on the Cassini Mission have hypothesized that such a Layering might have occurred at the time of (or just a little after) the Crater Formation, when the Ejecta thrown out from the Crater buried the pre-existing Surface that, likely, was covered by a (relatively) thin, Dark Deposit of Dust which, on its side, was laying over a white and bright Water-Ice Mantle.


The lower and thin Dark Layer, visible on the Crater Wall, appears to define (according to NASA Scientists but we, as IPF, do not agree on this idea) the base of an Ejecta Blanket and the Ejecta Blanket itself seems to have been mantled by a Dark Material whose origin (still unknown) is, however (and obviously), more recent.


The image was obtained on June, 11 2004 at a Phase, or Sun-Phoebe-Cassini Spacecraft, angle of 79°, and from a distance of approx. 13.380 Km (such as a little less than 8.309 miles) from Phebe; the scale, here, is approximately 80 meters (such as 262,4 feet) 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 06067) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected and then colorized, according to an educated guess 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, Phoebe), 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 Phoebe, 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 Phoebe- as it is in this frame - would appear, to an average human eye, a little bit lower than it has been shown (or, better yet: interpreted) here.



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