The internet seems to be full of “Where’s Waldo?” clones these days, ever since the emergence of the infamous ‘Find the panda’ image. Multiple versions of the artwork were uploaded, substituting the subject, as well as the location of the original panda. Now, however, here is a much more interesting picture, as only two moons are immediately visible around Saturn in this picture.
- There are actually 3 moons in the picture; one is just about a few pixels wide
- The three moons in the picture are Enceladus, Rhea, and Atlas
- Enceladus, Rhea, and Atlas are 313 miles, 949 miles, 19 miles across respectively
- The image was captured by NASA’s Cassini spaceship on December 19th
- The location of the third moon will be revealed in the last paragraph of the article
NASA’s highly praised Cassini spaceship passed by Saturn’s rings this December, and it sent back souvenirs. Well, one souvenir, to be more exact – a picture of three of Saturn’s moons – Enceladus, Rhea, and Atlas.
What made this picture gain so much momentum on the internet, once uploaded by NASA, was that at first sight it would appear that only two moons are in the picture.
And, for those of us not very well versed in accurate outer space photography, it might have seemed like there were only two moons, and that would have been the end of it.
However, somebody noticed that there was a third moon hiding in the image, and the entire internet lost it over the deceiving picture.
Saturn’s moons play a very large role in NASA’s future plans, as most of them have something worth exploring, to such an extent that several exploration missions are planned over the next few years.
Out of Saturn’s confirmed 62 moons, the three that appear in the above picture are ones that most fascinate astronomers.
Enceladus has a deep ocean under its outer layer of ice, which hides huge potential of alien life. In the meantime, Atlas is unique because of its equatorial ridge, which looks like a huge seam across its middle. Its uniqueness come from the fact that only 3 other moons are known to present that equatorial line.
And, like promised, here is the location of Atlas – somewhere about half an inch above the outermost layer of Saturn’s rings. If you were to draw a vertical and a horizontal axis on the middle of the picture, the moon would be in the first quadrant; no, that’s not a dead pixel on your monitor, nor is it a stain – it’s Saturn’s Atlas moon, which measures 19 miles in diameter.
Image source: Phys.org