Arrival and Departure at Phoebe by Lunar and Planetary Institute on Flickr.
As it entered the Saturn system, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft performed its first targeted flyby of one of the planet’s moons. On June 11, 2004, Cassini passed Phoebe, the largest of Saturn’s outer or “irregular” moons, at an altitude of just 1,285 miles (2,068 kilometers). This was the sole close flyby of one of the outer moons of Saturn in the entire Cassini mission. This montage of two views is published by the Cassini team to mark the 10th anniversary of the Phoebe flyby.
The image on the left side shows Cassini’s view on approach to Phoebe, while the right side shows the spacecraft’s departing perspective. The image mosaic on the left, recorded about 45 minutes before closest approach to Phoebe, is composed of six frames from Cassini’s Narrow-Angle Camera (NAC), plus one Wide-Angle Camera (WAC) image to fill the gap on the upper-right limb. The image has a spatial resolution of 260 feet (80 meters) per pixel. The sun-Phoebe-spacecraft, or phase, angle is 80 degrees. The image at right, taken about half an hour after closest approach, is composed of eight NAC frames. The spatial resolution is 210 feet (65 meters) per pixel, and the phase angle is 83 degrees.