NASA just released brand-new pictures of Saturn's moon, Pan, and they say it looks like a dumpling. These photos give us a whole new look at this interesting moon.
NASA Publishes Never-Before-Seen Photos Of ‘Ravioli’ Moon Orbiting Saturn
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released previously unseen images of a moon of Saturn while comparing them to popular foods.
“Ravioli, pierogi, empanada… What do you see? No wrong answers,” NASA wrote in a Monday Instagram post that was accompanied by images of Pan, the innermost moon of Saturn.
The images, which were captured by the Cassini spacecraft, provide a fresh perspective on the unusual moon.
The space agency claims that Pan's ridge at its equator resembles that of Atlas, another moon that revolves around Saturn.
According to NASA, that ridge gives Pan its distinctive "dumpling" shape.
The statement claimed that Pan makes an orbit around Saturn every 13.8 hours at an altitude of 83,000 miles from inside a rift in one of the planet's rings.
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The two pictures depict how Pan appeared to the Cassini spacecraft when it approached it at its closest point ever—a distance of 15,300 miles.
According to a page about the moon on NASA's website, M.R. Showalter first identified Pan "using images taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft nine years earlier."
According to Space.com, the International Astronomical Union presently recognizes 145 moons of Saturn.
A group of researchers led by Edward Ashton found 62 new moons in May of this year, which greatly increased that number.
According to NASA, the majority of Saturn's moons were initially named after Greco-Roman Titans. However, the discovery of numerous additional moons compelled astronomers to begin choosing names from other mythologies, including Gallic, Inuit, and Norse tales.
“Pan, a satyr (a creature resembling a man with the hind legs and hooves of a goat), is a Greek god of nature and the forest,” NASA explains on its website.
However, these images of Pan, Saturn's "dumpling" moon, captured by the Cassini spacecraft, offer more than just a visual treat.
They serve as a reminder of the boundless wonders and mysteries of our universe. As our understanding of Saturn and its moons continues to expand, these images underscore the infinite beauty and complexity of the cosmos.
They encourage us to keep looking up, keep exploring, and keep asking questions about the universe that envelops us.
In the vast expanse of space, these glimpses of celestial bodies like Pan remind us of our place in the grand tapestry of the cosmos.