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Sci-Tech

Triple crescent moons grace the Saturn sky

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captures an elegant image of three of Saturn's moons as they glow like delicate slivers in space.

Saturn's crescent moons
Three of Saturn's moons hang out in space. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The moon is a wonder when it sits in its crescent phase high in the dark nighttime sky. Here on Earth, we only have the one moon, so imagine what it would be like on a planet where you could see three beautiful crescent moons at once.

Saturn has over 50 named moons. NASA's Cassini spacecraft caught three of them together, decorating space with a trio of crescents. The moons on display are Titan, Rhea and Mimas. At 3,200 miles across, Titan is the ringed planet's largest moon. Rhea comes in second at 949 miles across and Mimas is a dainty object at just 246 miles across.

NASA notes that Titan appears fuzzy in the image released Monday because Cassini's camera sees its cloud layers. Rhea's craters are visible, its pockmarked surface hinting at a history of hard impacts.

Cassini previously recorded the appearance and disappearance of a mystery island on Titan, which may be linked to wave action, bubbling gases or solids floating in a liquid-methane sea.

Cassini was 1.2 million miles away from Titan when it snapped the photo on March 25, though NASA is just now drawing attention to the striking image. The spacecraft is on an extended mission to study Saturn and its many moons. It launched in 1997, reaching its destination in 2004, and it has been sending back fascinating photos and data ever since.