Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

Hyperion: photo gallery

The following images and text of Saturn's moon Hyperion are from NASA's Planetary Photojournal. For more information, see the main encyclopedia entry for Hyperion.

Cassini image. Feb. 15, 2007

Chaotically tumbling and seriously eroded by impacts, Hyperion is one of Saturn's more unusual satellites. Scientists believe the moon to be quite porous, with a great deal of its volume being empty space. Impact blasted Hyperion is 280 km (174 mi.) across. Only part of the moon is visible in this image, the rest being hidden in shadow. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 930 nanometers. The view was acquired on February 15, 2007 at a distance of approximately 224,000 km (139,000 mi.) from Hyperion. Image scale is 1 km (3,281 ft.) per pixel.

Cassini image. Sep. 26, 2005

Hyperion's crater, Meri, blooms in this extreme color-enhanced view. Meri is overprinted by a couple of smaller craters and displays dark material on its floor that is characteristic of many impact sites on this moon. The walls of craters seen here are noticeably smoother on their sloping sides than around their craggy rims. To create this false-color view, ultraviolet, green, and infrared images were combined into a single black and white picture that isolates and maps regional color differences. This "color map" was then superimposed over a clear-filter image. The combination of color map and brightness image shows how the colors vary across the moon's surface in relation to geologic features. The origin of the color differences is not yet understood, but may be caused by subtle differences in the surface composition or the sizes of grains making up the icy soil. The images used to create this false-color view were acquired on September 26, 2005, at a mean distance of 17,900 km (11,100 mi.) from Hyperion. Image scale is about 110 m (360 ft.) per pixel.

Related category