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24 June 2010

By Saturn's Moons

An aurora, shining high above
the northern part of Saturn, moves
from the night side to the day
side of the planet … tall auroral
curtains, rapidly changing over
time when viewed at the limb, or edge,
of the planet's northern hemisphere.

A large cloud formation swirls
through the high northern latitudes
of Saturn near the top …

Appearing like eyes on a potato,
craters cover the dimly lit surface
of the moon Prometheus …

Cassini looks down on the clouds
in the upper atmosphere of Saturn,
just over the shoulder of the moon

Helene … Saturn's rings, made dark
in part as the planet casts its shadow
across them, cut a striking figure
before Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

The shadow of Saturn's largest moon darkens
a huge portion of the gas giant planet.

Titan's golden, smog-like atmosphere
and complex layered hazes appear
to Cassini as a luminous ring
around the planet-sized moon.

Saturn's moon Dione passes in front
of the larger moon Titan … Enceladus
continues to spew ice into space …

A closer view of a feature
on Enceladus called Baghdad Sulcus,
one of four tiger stripes that cross
Enceladus' south pole … Cassini

is on the night side of the moon,
viewing brightly-lit plumes
of ice being ejected from fissures
at Enceladus' south pole.

Saturn's moon Rhea looms near
its sibling moon Epimetheus …

Irregularly shaped Calypso is one
of two Trojan moons that travel
in the same orbit of the larger moon
Tethys, traveling ahead and behind.
Calypso's smooth surface does not appear
to retain the record of intense cratering
that most of Saturn's other moons possess.

Compiled from NASA's notes on photographs taken of Saturn's system by their spacecraft Cassini. The photos were collected at The Big Picture 21 May 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.