Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2005 February 15
Explanation: Each moon of Saturn seems to come with its own mystery. Rhea, Saturn's second largest moon behind Titan, shows unusual wisps, visible above as light coloured streaks. Higher resolution images of similar wisps on Dione indicate that they might be made of long braided fractures. Rhea is composed mostly of water ice, but likely has a small rocky core. Rhea's rotation and orbit are locked together, just like Earth's Moon, so that one side always faces Saturn. A consequence of this is that one side always leads the other. Rhea's leading surface is much more heavily cratered than the trailing surface, pictured above. The above image in natural colour was taken last month by the Cassini robot spacecraft in orbit around Saturn.
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& Michigan Tech. U.