—Image courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Somewhere there’s an intergalactic diner that’s missing part of a really big blue-plate special.
In this raw, unprocessed snapshot, Cassini caught the moon at just the right angle that natural light makes the porous, icy body look like a fried egg.
Now, Saturn has a lot of moons—more than 60 known and about 50 with official names—and the list keeps growing. In fact, just last March Cassini spotted a new moon hidden among Saturn’s rings.
According to NASA, Saturn’s many moons are a study in contrasts, varying “drastically in shape, size, surface age, and origin.”
Among the oddities:
- Titan, Saturn’s biggest moon, with a thick atmosphere and lakes of liquid methane;
- Enceladus, an icy body spitting out plumes of frozen particles rich in organics;
- Iapetus, a “two-faced” moon shaped like a walnut
Prometheus, which has been known about since 1980, is one of Saturn’s inner moons, orbiting the planet at a mere 85,590 miles (140,000 kilometers).
The tiny moon is so close that it orbits just inside Saturn’s outer F ring, sometimes crossing the ring and pulling out streamers of material.
Although named for a mythological Titan, Prometheus is relatively small—just 92 x 62 x 42 miles (148 x 100 x 68 kilometers).
The new snapshot showcases Cassini’s ability to zoom in on Saturn’s moons and reveal fine details that could lead to new and improved scientific insights.
But for now, all I wanna know is, where’s the celestial bacon?