Saturn's Full Moon: Rhea Shines Bright for Cassini

Nearly Full Rhea by Cassini
A nearly full Rhea shines in the sunlight in this recent Cassini image. Rhea (949 miles, or 1,527 kilometers across) is Saturn's second largest moon. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Rhea. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 10, 2013, and featured by NASA on March 10, 2014. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

This newly-released observation of Saturn's second largest moon could be mistaken for our own moon hanging in the night sky. Although it may lack the tell-tail Mare Imbrium (Sea of Showers) or famous Tycho Crater, the rocky surface of Rhea is still pockmarked with craters that etch its ancient surface with solar system history. The Saturn-facing hemisphere is almost totally bathed in sunlight.

PHOTOS: Moons of Saturn

Rhea is 949 miles (1,527 kilometers) wide, less than half the size of our moon, which measures 2,159 miles (3,475 kilometers) wide. Snapped by Cassini's narrow-angle camera on Sept. 10, 2013, the Saturn-orbiting spacecraft was approximately 990,000 miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Rhea. [See more amazing photos of Rhea, Saturn's 2nd Largest Moon]

Read more about the Cassini Solstice mission and vie high-resolution versions of this observation via Cassini’s mission site.

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This story was provided by Discovery News.

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Media Relations Specialist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Ian O'Neill is a media relations specialist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California. Prior to joining JPL, he served as editor for the Astronomical Society of the Pacific‘s Mercury magazine and Mercury Online and contributed articles to a number of other publications, including,, Live Science,, Scientific American. Ian holds a Ph.D in solar physics and a master's degree in planetary and space physics.