The True Shape of Phoebe
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The True Shape of Phoebe

November 12, 2009
This colourful graphic illustrates that despite Phoebe's bumpy, irregular topography, the moon has a fairly round shape. A digitally rendered shape model of Phoebe was constructed using Cassini imaging data obtained before and after the spacecraft's close flyby of the Saturnian moon on 11 June 2004.

The average diameter of Phoebe is about 214 kilometres. The four views of the model are each separated by a 90 degree rotation; the upper left is centred at 0 degrees West longitude. The others show regions of the moon centred at 90, 180 and 270 degrees West longitude, as labeled. The colouring of the models corresponds to the height of Phoebe's surface, relative to the lowest point - a range of about 16 kilometres - going from blue (low) to red (high). Interestingly, much of this range in height occurs in one large crater, visible in the 180 degree West view.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

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