Astronomy Picture of the Day
July 9, 2014

Mysterious Hyperion (Part I)
Mysterious Hyperion (Part I)

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

Chaotically tumbling (---> rotating in an highly irregular way on itself while orbiting around Saturn), and more than seriously eroded by countless Impacts, Hyperion is one of the Gas-Giant Planet Saturn's more unusually-looking and geologically interesting Natural Satellites. Many Planetary Scientists believe that this fascinating Celestial Body is, among other characteristics which make it kind of "unique" in the Saturnian System (as well as in the whole Solar System), quite "porous" too, with large amounts of (what seem to be) Surfacing Hydrocarbons deposited on the Floor of most of its many Impact Craters. Planetary Scientists also believe that a great deal (--- most) of its volume is just made of "empty space" (in other words, Hyperion could be, according to this assumption, an almost "Hollow Celestial Body).

Hyperion is about 280 Km (such as approx. 173,88 miles) across (---> at its largest extent). As you can see here, only a (relatively) small portion of Hyperion is visible in this image, since the rest of it, is hidden in a deep and extremely dark shadow.

This image was taken with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on February, 15, 2007, using a Spectral Filter sensitive to Wavelengths of InfraRed Light centered at 930 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 224.000 Km (such as about 139.104 miles) from Hyperion, and the Image Scale here is roughly 1 Km (such as 3280 feet) per picture element (---> pixel).

This frame (which is an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 08094) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, Gamma corrected and then colorized - according to an educated guess (or, if you wish, an informed speculation) carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga - 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 "Hyperion"), 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 Hyperion, 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 Hyperion - 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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