A clear, detailed image of the Messier 33 galaxy has been captured by the V.L.T. Survey Telescope in Chile. Messier 33, the second-closest large galaxy to the Milky Way, is packed with bright star clusters and clouds of gas and dust.
The Saturn system reveals tantalizing vistas. NASA’s robotic spacecraft named Cassini carries with it 12 instruments designed to take precise measurements of Saturn and its surroundings, including Titan, other icy moons, and the rings, as well as the magnetic environment.
For many of us, however, the images are what put us there, at Saturn, almost a billion miles away from home. Some of those images unveil overwhelming beauty. Others show tricks of light and seemingly magical oddities. Some reveal events from the distant past that have been preserved for eons, while other views depict processes that are changing now, like live news.
Ranger 7 took this image, the first picture of the moon by a U.S. spacecraft, on July 31, 1964 at 13:09 UT (9:09 AM EDT), about 17 minutes before impacting the lunar surface. The area photographed is centered at 13 S, 10 W and covers about 360 km from top to bottom. The large crater at center right is the 108 km diameter Alphonsus. Above it is Ptolemaeus and below it Arzachel. The terminator is at the bottom right corner. Mare Nubium is at center and left. North is at about 11:00 at the center of the frame. The Ranger 7 impact site is off the frame, to the left of the upper left corner.
The Ranger series of spacecraft were designed solely to take high-quality pictures of the moon and transmit them back to Earth in real time. The images were to be used for scientific study, as well as selecting landing sites for the Apollo moon missions. Ranger 7 was the first of the Ranger series to be entirely successful. It transmitted 4,308 high-quality images over the last 17 minutes of flight, the final image having a resolution of 0.5 meter/pixel.
Ranger 7 was launched July 28, 1964 and arrived at the moon on July 31, 1964.
Tethys, like many moons in the solar system, keeps one face pointed towards the planet around which it orbits. Tethys’ anti-Saturn face is seen here, fully illuminated, basking in sunlight. On the right side of the moon in this image is the huge crater Odysseus.
The Odysseus crater is 280 miles (450 kilometers) across while Tethys is 660 miles (1,062 kilometers) across. See PIA07693 for a closer view and more information on the Odysseus crater.
This view looks toward the anti-Saturn side of Tethys. North on Tethys is up and rotated 33 degrees to the right. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 15, 2013.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 503,000 miles (809,000 kilometers) from Tethys. Image scale is 3 miles (5 kilometers) per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.