February 8, 2016 4:49 pm

NASA releases stunning image of Saturn’s moon

Saturn's moon Tethys

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
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Saturn, considered the jewel of our solar system, is home to more than 60 moons, each one as unique and interesting as the next. Now NASA has released a new image of one of its small moons: Tethys.

While the image makes it look like the moon lies within Saturn’s rings, that’s actually not the case: the rings, which are nearly edge on, are the bands above the moon, and their curving shadows are stretched across Saturn below.

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In fact, the moon orbits about 294,600 km away from the mighty Saturn. It’s believed that Tethys is made up of mostly water ice and a small amount of rock. And the moon is small — only about 1,062 km across.

As you can see in the image, Tethys has a giant impact crater that is about 400 km in diameter — nearly two-fifths of the moon itself. Normally, an impact that big would have shattered a moon, but astronomers believe that Tethys must still be partially molten.

Cassini, which reached orbit around Saturn in 2004, took the image at a distance of about 65,000 km.

To see a high-definition image, click here.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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