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Cassini Captures Image Of Saturn's 'Potato' Moon Prometheus From 23,000 Miles

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One of Saturn's natural satellites is known to orbit the ringed planet seemingly appearing like a huge cratered spud.

Prometheus, famous as Saturn's potato moon, is an inner satellite of the planet that was discovered by scientists more than 30 years ago.

During a Dec. 6 flyby, NASA's Cassini spacecraft managed to capture another photo of Prometheus - one of the highest image resolutions of the potato moon ever taken.

Taken in visible light by Cassini's narrow-angle camera, the new photo shows the pockmarked surface of Prometheus. The view looks towards the potato moon's anti-Saturn side.

Cassini took the snapshot of Prometheus at a distance of about 23,000 miles or 37,000 kilometers and a Sun-Prometheus-spacecraft angle of 87 degrees. The potato moon roams around Saturn just interior to the narrow F ring, scientists said.

Aside from the new high resolution photo, Cassini had twice captured high-resolution images of the potato moon.

2010 Cassini Flyby

A high-resolution image of Prometheus was taken by Cassini in a Jan. 27, 2010 flyby

At that time, the encounter indicated the closest imaging sequence yet of the potato moon for Cassini. The view was taken at a distance of 21,000 miles or 34,000 kilometers and looked toward the trailing hemisphere of the moon.

2009 Cassini Flyby

In a Dec. 26, 2009 flyby, Cassini captured a high-resolution photo of the moon at a 35,000-mile distance. The lower right end of Prometheus points toward Saturn, while the upper left end points away from the gas giant.

Meanwhile, the new image was taken by Cassini days after the spacecraft captured images of Saturn's natural satellite Titan on its "T-114" flyby.

During this flyby, Cassini's closest-approach altitude was about 6,200 miles or 10,000 kilometers. The distance is considerably higher than those of usual flybys in which the distance is only about 750 miles or 1,200 kilometers, scientists said.

NASA's Cassini was launched in space around 18 years ago. It arrived to study Saturn and its natural satellites in 2004.

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