Cassini’s last close-up images of Dionne

Dionne on August 17, 2015

Cool image time! NASA has released images from Cassini’s Monday close fly-by of Saturn’s moon Dionne.

The press release itself did not include any of the close-ups for some reasons. You have to dig for them at the site. Go here, here, here, and here to see a few of more interesting, the first of which is a global view taken just before the fly-by. The second is the highest resolution image, with a resolution 10 feet per pixel. The third shows the nighttime surface lit entirely by reflected light from Saturn. The fourth, shown on the right, was taken from an altitude of 470 miles with a resolution of 150 feet to the pixel. It shows the moon’s rolling, pock-marked, and cratered surface, to the horizon.

Cassini’s last fly-by of Dionne on Monday


On Monday August 17 Cassini will make its last close fly-by of Saturn’s moon Dionne, dipping to within 295 miles of the surface.

During the flyby, Cassini’s cameras and spectrometers will get a high-resolution peek at Dione’s north pole at a resolution of only a few feet (or meters). In addition, Cassini’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer instrument will map areas on the icy moon that have unusual thermal anomalies — those regions are especially good at trapping heat. Meanwhile, the mission’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer continues its search for dust particles emitted from Dione.

The image of Dionne above is from a June 16, 2015 fly-by, The diagonal line at the top is Saturn’s rings.

After more than a decade, Cassini’s mission is in its final stages. When completed, we will have no way for decades to get close-up images of this gas giant, its spectacular rings, or its many very different moons.