Image: Chaos at Hyperion

Image: Chaos at Hyperion
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The moon Hyperion tumbles as it orbits Saturn. Hyperion's (168 miles or 270 kilometers across) spin axis has a chaotic orientation in time, meaning that it is essentially impossible to predict how the moon will be spinning in the future. So far, scientists only know of a few bodies with such chaotic spins.

The image was taken in with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 22, 2016.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 203,000 miles (326,000 kilometers) from Hyperion and at a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 10 degrees. Image scale is 1 mile (2 kilometers) per pixel.


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Citation: Image: Chaos at Hyperion (2016, December 6) retrieved 23 July 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2016-12-image-chaos-hyperion.html
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