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Phoebe shows an unusual variation in brightness.


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Phoebe.
Phoebe shows an unusual variation in brightness.

Phoebe.

During its historic close encounter with Phoebe, the Cassini spacecraft captured a series of high resolution images of the small moon, six of which have been mosaicked together to create this detailed view.

Phoebe shows an unusual variation in brightness over its surface due to the existence on some crater slopes and floors of bright material – thought to contain ice – on what is otherwise one of the darkest known bodies in the solar system. Bright streaks on the rim of the large crater in the North (up in this image) may have been revealed by the collapse of overlying darker material from the crater wall. The large crater below right-of-center shows evidence of layered deposits of alternating bright and dark material. A possible mechanism for this apparent layering was discussed in an earlier image release (PIA 06067).

Supernova examine exploding stars.

The supernova Integral Field Spectrograph (SNIFS), a new instrument designed to examine exploding stars, has observed its first target: supernova SN 2004cr. Mounted on board the University of Hawaii's 2.2 metre telescope on Mauna Kea, the instrument is designed to simultaneously observe a supernova, its home galaxy, and the surrounding sky. It should make very precise measurements of Type 1A supernovae, which are considered by Astronomers to be "standard candles" - every explosion is the same brightness, so you can use them to measure the distance to galaxies.

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