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Image of the Day: Chaos at Hyperion

chaos-at-hyperion

 

The moon Hyperion tumbles as it orbits Saturn. Hyperion’s (168 miles or 270 kilometers across) spin axis has a chaotic orientation in time, meaning that it is essentially impossible to predict how the moon will be spinning in the future. So far, scientists only know of a few bodies with such chaotic spins.

The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 22, 2016.

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The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 203, 000 miles (326, 000 kilometers) from Hyperion and at a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 10 degrees. Image scale is 1 mile (2 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (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. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Read more about the Cassini-Huygens mission.

 

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