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Death Star Mimas' Herschel Crater.


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Death Star.
Death Star.

This photograph of Mimas, one of Saturn's moons, shows a head-on view of its largest crater Herschel - making it look like the Death star from the star Wars series of movies. Mimas is only 398 kilometers (247 miles), so the impact that formed this crater probably nearly destroyed the moon. Herschel is 130 kilometers wide (80 miles), and has a tall central peak similar to many craters on our own Moon. Cassini took this image on January 16, 2005 at a distance of only 213,000 kilometers (132,000 miles).

Saturn's Moon Mimas has many large craters, but its Herschel crater dwarfs all the rest. This large crater 130 kilometers wide (80 miles) has a prominent central peak, seen here almost exactly on the terminator. This crater is the moon's most prominent feature, and the impact that formed it probably nearly destroyed Mimas. Mimas is 398 kilometers (247 miles) across.

This view is predominantly of the leading hemisphere of Mimas. The image has been rotated so that north on Mimas is up.

This image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Jan. 16, 2005, at a distance of approximately 213,000 kilometers (132,000 miles) from Mimas and at a Sun-Mimas-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 84 degrees. Resolution in the original image was about 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles) per pixel. A combination of spectral filters sensitive to ultraviolet and polarized light was used to obtain this view. Contrast was enhanced and the image was magnified by a factor of two to aid visibility.

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 mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

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




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