Animation made from images acquired by Cassini on April 12, 2017.
If you thought Pan resembled a UFO, Atlas is even more saucer-shaped! Slightly larger at about 19 miles across, Saturn’s moon Atlas was passed by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on April 12, 2017, coming within about 9,000 miles. The images above are a collection of eight from Cassini’s closest approach. Like its smaller sibling Pan, Atlas has a flattened shape, created by the presence of a large buildup of icy material around its equator.
Atlas orbits Saturn just outside the edge of the A ring, taking about 14 hours to complete a full orbit.
Learn more about Atlas here. Tagged: Atlas, Cassini, flyby, flying sauce, moon, Pan, Saturn, solar system, UFO