...and closer still
As the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens spacecraft sails toward its rendezvous with Phoebe, details on the small, dark moon are coming into view at a dizzying pace.
The images shown here were taken 13 hours apart on 10 June 2004, just one day before closest approach. There is a dramatic increase in detail between these two views.
A large crater, roughly 50 kilometre across, is visible in the image on the left. The image on the right shows a body heavily pitted with craters of varying sizes, including very large ones, and displaying a substantial amount of variation in surface brightness.
Features that appear to be cliffs may be the boundaries between large craters. Despite its exaggerated topography, Phoebe is more round than irregular in shape.
Left to right, the two views were obtained from distances of 956 000 kilometres and 658 000 kilometres, respectively. Closest approach to Phoebe will be at 22:56 CET on 11 June.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a co-operative project of NASA, ESA and ASI, the Italian space agency.
Credits: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute