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Tethys, Janus pose with Saturn's rings in new NASA photo
by Brooks Hays
Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) Mar 1, 2016

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

A newly shared image from NASA showcases the orbital mecca that is Saturn.

In addition to the thick bands of gas and dust that constantly orbit the gas giant, forming its rings, Saturn boasts 62 known moons -- 53 of which have been formally named.

Two of those moons, Tethys and Janus, appear alongside Saturn's rings in a new image, captured by the Cassini spacecraft's wide-angle camera late last year and published by NASA on Monday.

Tethys and Janus offer an example of the variety of lunar conditions found among Saturn's satellites. The planet's moons come in all shapes and sizes.

Tethys, appearing in the foreground, has a diameter of 660 miles and is large enough to feature a rounded shape and geologic activity -- activity that's allowed for a range of surface textures, including plains, chasms and arcs.

The more distant Janus is much smaller and oblong in shape, with no known geologic activity. Its surface is textured only by craters.

As Cassini scientists can attest, Saturn's moons regularly gather for group photos alongside the planet's rings. Earlier this year, NASA shared a picture of Tethys, Enceladus and Mimas posing above and below the ring plane.

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