Somersaulting Moon
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Somersaulting Moon

January 20, 2011
The Cassini spacecraft captures a view of the southern latitudes of Saturn's tumbling moon Hyperion.

To learn more about this spongy moon and how it tumbles in its orbit, see Encountering Hyperion, Cosmic Blasting Zone and Odd World. Lit terrain seen here is mostly in the southern hemisphere of Hyperion (270 kilometers, or 168 miles across). The south pole of the moon is near the bottom of the illuminated terrain seen here.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 28, 2010. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 80,000 kilometers (50,000 miles) from Hyperion and at a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 98 degrees. Image scale is 476 meters (1,562 feet) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov or http://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

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