Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

October 9, 1995

Saturn's Moon Dione
Credit: NASA, Voyager 1, Copyright Calvin J. Hamilton

Explanation: Dione, one of Saturn's larger moons, is remarkable for its bright surface streaks. These streaks run across some of Dione's many craters, which indicate that the process which created the streaks occurred later than the process which created the craters. Dione is made of mostly water ice but its relatively high density indicates that it contains much rock inside. Dione was discovered by Giovanni Cassini in 1684. NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn is currently scheduled for launch in October 1997. Dione's orbit is remarkable it that it also houses the much smaller moon Helene. This moon, once designated "Dione B", precedes Dione by about 1/6th of an orbit.

Tomorrow's picture: Dione's Lagrange Moon Helene

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
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