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Cassini spacecraft Closer to Titan.

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Cassini Spacecraft.
Cassini spacecraft Titan.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft took this image of Saturn's Moon Titan on July 2, 2004, when it was only 347,000 km (216,000 miles) away. This closer image and better resolution is an improvement over Cassini's previous images of the enshrouded Moon by a factor of four. It's a natural colour image, built by merging photographs taken through the spacecraft's red, blue and green filters.

About a day after entering orbit around Saturn, Cassini sped silently past Titan, passing some 339,000 kilometers (210,600 miles) above the moon’s south polar region. This natural color image represents Cassini’s view only about two hours after closest approach to the moon.

The superimposed coordinate system grid in the accompanying image at right illustrates the geographical regions of the Moon that are illuminated and visible, as well as the orientation of Titan – lines of longitude converge on the South Pole above center in the image. The yellow curve marks the position of the boundary between day and night on Titan.

Images taken through blue, green and red filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained using the wide angle camera on July 2, 2004, from a distance of about 347,000 kilometers (216,000 miles) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 62 degrees. This view is an improvement in resolution of nearly a factor of four over the previously released natural color view of Titan (PIA 06081). The image scale is 21 kilometers (13 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.

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