New photo shows incredible diversity of Saturn's moons

Saturn Towers Over Its Moon In Striking NASA Image
Saturn Towers Over Its Moon In Striking NASA Image

A new photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft exploring Saturn shows off the extreme variety of the ringed planet's many moons.

The large, round moon Tethys shines bright white against the blackness of space, as the small, irregularly shaped moon Janus hovers just above Saturn's plane of rings in the new photo.

See also: Saturn-studying spacecraft snaps awesome image of planet's moon Dione

Some of Saturn's 62 known moons are round, while others are strangely shaped like Janus — which is too small to have sufficient gravity to become spherical, NASA said. (Massive bodies are round because their gravity is able to "overcome" the strength of the matter that composes them to form into a sphere, the agency added.)

See the stunning photo and more views from Saturn:

Tethys is about 660 miles in diameter, while Janus measures about 111 miles across.

This Cassini image was taken when the spacecraft was about 593,000 miles from Janus and 810,000 miles from Tethys on Oct. 27.

Cassini has been exploring the Saturn system since 2004 when it first arrived at the ringed planet. The intrepid spacecraft's mission is expected to come to an end in 2017 when it makes its planned death-dive into Saturn's atmosphere after running out of fuel.

Before Cassini's mission ends, the probe is expected to literally dive in between Saturn's body and its plane of rings, exploring that part of the planet's system as never before.

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