Geeky Planetary Science

Maps of Tethys


Tethys in 2008. Click to engage the largerizer

Good morning everyone.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 15 years since the Cassini-Huygens mission was launched, and over 8 years since the probe went into orbit around Saturn. In that time Cassini has sent back thousands of spectacular images of Saturn and it’s moons, and the Huygens probe showed us just how strange and oddly familiar the surface of Titan looks. Cassini’s current mission, Solstice, will keep the spacecraft busy until 2017 at least and continue to give us amazing images of the Saturn system.

The accumulation of images from Cassini has given NASA/JPL the chance to construct rather detailed maps of some of Saturn’s moons. The first map of Tethys (above) was made in 2008 using Cassini and Voyager image data, and in 2010 a map was made of the entire moon using only Cassini image data. In June of this year the maps of Tethys were updated with more detailed imagery, and you can examine them after the jump.

Map of Tethys – June 2012


June 2012 map of Tethys, equidistant projection. Click for überlargerizification.

From the NASA/JPL website:

This global map of Saturn’s moon Tethys was created using images taken during Cassini spacecraft flybys.

The map is an equidistant (simple cylindrical) projection and has a scale of 293 meters (960 feet) per pixel at the equator in the full size version. The mean radius of Tethys used for projection of this map is 536.3 kilometers (333.2 miles). The resolution of the map is 32 pixels per degree.

This map is an update to the version released in February 2010. See Map of Tethys – February 2010.

Tethys Polar Maps – June 2012


June 2012 map of Tethys northern hemisphere. Click for überlargerizification.

The northern and southern hemispheres of Tethys are seen in these polar stereographic maps, mosaicked from the best-available Cassini images.

Each map is centered on one of the poles, and surface coverage extends to the equator. Grid lines show latitude and longitude in 30-degree increments. The scale in the full-size versions of these maps is 293 meters (960 feet) per pixel. The mean radius of Tethys used for projection of these maps is 536.3 kilometers(333.2 miles). These maps are updated versions of those released in February 2010. See Tethys Polar Maps – February 2010 [North] and Tethys Polar Maps – February 2010 [South].

The huge Odysseus Crater (450 kilometers or 280 miles across) can be seen in the upper left of the north pole map, in the northern latitudes between the leading hemisphere and anti-Saturn side of Tethys. The large Penelope Crater is shown in the lower right of south pole map, in the southern latitudes of the trailing hemisphere of Tethys.


June 2012 map of Tethys southern hemisphere. Click for überlargerizification.

I don’t know about you guys, but I just love the maps that NASA/JPL produce of the planets and moons. I can’t wait until they get added to Google Earth and I can fly around on these places that I could never otherwise visit.

All images by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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.


NASA/JPL Cassini Solstice Mission

Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS)

Cassini-Huygens Timeline Wiki

  • Number_Six

    Awesome, in the proper sense of the word before it was appropriated by teenagers to mean "mildly amusing".

    • Dean Bigglesworth

      Awesome comment!!

      Fortunately, there are still other ways to express your feelings of awe. Like pictures of kittens.

  • CaptianNemo2001

    "The accumulation of images from Cassini has given NASA/JPL the chance the construct rather detailed maps of some of Saturn’s moons." You mean ""the chance "to" construct"".

    Most of my planetary maps come from NGM.

    • The Professor