February 8, 2016 4:49 pm

NASA releases stunning image of Saturn’s moon

Saturn's moon Tethys

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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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