Saturn’s Moon Tethys Looks Like A Giant Eyeball Staring Off Into Space

Posted: Jan 24 2017, 11:57pm CST | by , Updated: Jan 25 2017, 12:17am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Saturn’s Moon Tethys Looks like a Giant Eyeball Starring off into Space
Credit: NASA

NASA's new image features Saturn's large icy moon Tethys and its massive impact crater

At first glance, it may look like a giant eyeball peeking into the universe, but it is actually a full view of Saturn’s large icy moon Tethys. The image was captured from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft at a distance of approximately 228,000 miles from Tethys.

Tethys is one of the largest Saturn’s moons with 1,060 km diameter. Like most moons in the solar system, Tethys is heavily cratered. The craters reflect on the moon’s violent past, such as the impact crater Odysseus as seen in the image.

Odysseus, the largest impact crater on Tethys, is about 400 km wide and also harbors a mountainous peak Scheria Montes. This is similar to neighboring moon Mimas that contains a massive crater and a central peak as tall as Mount Everest on Earth.

The image was taken with Cassini’s narrow-angle camera Nov. 10, 2016 using green light filters which makes it look very close to way a human eye would see it.

A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on

The crater of Tethys appears quite flat compared to giant impact craters on other moons. Astronomers suspect that the crater must have been deep in the past with towering rims and high central peak but they may have collapsed over time due to the viscous relaxation of Tethys’ icy crust.

The mid-sized, icy moon Tethys was discovered in 1684 and was named after Tethys, a titan in Greek mythology. It orbits Saturn at a distance of about 295000 km and takes almost 45 hours to complete a circle.

Source: NASA

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