Home > astronomy > Looking back at Cassini: A last look at Dione

Looking back at Cassini: A last look at Dione

NASA’s Cassini probe is in its last year of operation, continuing to explore the Saturn system, and it seems appropriate to look back at some of the amazing images the spacecraft has sent home to Earth.

This one was taken on August 17, 2015, during the probe’s last flyby of Saturn’s moon Dione.

Dione, Aug. 2016

Icy Dione, as seen by Cassini last August. You can see some of the rings of Saturn, as well as the solar system’s second largest planet, in the background. Courtesy NASA.

Dione (Di-OH-nee) is a small moon, with a diameter of only about 1,120 kilometers, and it orbits Saturn at about the same distance as the Moon orbits Earth. Covered by ice for which one of Saturn’s rings is the main source, Dione has many craters. Some are as large as 100 kilometers across.

Like Earth’s sole satellite, Dione does not rotate. Only one side of the moon ever faces Saturn.

Giovanni Cassini discovered Dione in 1864. The moon takes its name from the mythological Greek goddess who was said by Homer to be the mother of Aphrodite.

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