Happy Valentine's Day. Love, Rhea
Happy Valentine's Day. Love, Rhea
Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 14 2010 12:03 PM

Happy Valentine's Day. Love, Rhea

Same shape, different moon...

An interplanetary dedication of love for all you starry-eyed geeks:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  



This is an image from Cassini. It's a closeup of a crater on Rhea, a moon of Saturn about half the size of our own natural satellite. I love how the small crater and ridge inside the bigger crater make it look like the heart is winking!

In the full size image you can see what looks like a ridge to the left of the heart, but in fact that's the edge of a vast crater on the surface of Rhea. You can see it better in this image of the whole moon, where I've marked the location of the heart:


I don't know exactly what's going on with this heart; is it a crater that expanded when the walls collapsed around it, so it's no longer round? Or is it a sink hole, where the whole thing is a collapse feature? I love pictures like this, showing us the diversity and cool-factor of other worlds in our solar system.

And, of course: Happy Valentine's Day.

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