NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute
The Saturnian moon Rhea stars in an image captured by the Cassini orbiter during a flyby on Tuesday, but several other moons play supporting roles, along with Saturn's nearly edge-on rings. The moon Dione is just below Rhea and just above the rings. Tethys is to the right of Rhea, below the ring plane. Epimetheus appears as a speck in space between Rhea and Tethys. And the shepherd moon Prometheus is barely visible as a bump in the rings, just to the right of Dione.
Raw images of Saturn's icy moon Rhea captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during this week's flyby are delighting space enthusiasts and scientists.
In the image above, Rhea takes center stage, though Saturn's rings and three other moons make a cameo appearance. Below Rhea, just above the rings, is Dione. The moon Tethys is the larger circle in the lower right, while Epimetheus is the smaller dot to the right of Rhea and Dione. If you look closely, Prometheus is barely distinguishable as a speck embedded in the rings to the right of Dione.
Other images from the flyby show Rhea's cratered and fractured surface up close, which will allow scientists studying the images to understand just how often meteoroids bombard Rhea:
The Cassini orbiter's wide-angle camera took this image of Rhea as it flew past at a distance of about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from the Saturnian moon's surface.
In addition, NASA noted in an image advisory, scientists using fields and particles instruments are looking through their data to see if they gleaned any more information about Rhea's thin oxygen-and-carbon-dioxide atmosphere and the interaction between Rhea and the particles within Saturn's magnetosphere.
The scientific value of the data aside, the Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla, says the raw images left her "drooling." For more views of the icy moon, check out her post here.
John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the "like" button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following msnbc.com's science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).