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A double scoop of Saturn's moons

A new image from the Cassini orbiter offers up a delicious view looking past the south polar area of Saturn's moon Rhea to the icy moon Dione in the distance, seemingly balanced on Saturn's rings.


Saturn's rings are closer to Cassini than Dione, obscuring the view of the south of Dione, according to an image advisory. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 11, 2011. The spacecraft was approximately 38,000 miles from Rhea and 574,000 miles from Dione.

The composition is similar to NASA's famous Earthrise photo made as the Apollo 8 crew swung around the Earth's moon on Christmas Eve 1968 and caught their home planet hanging in the black sky. That image is credited for helping ignite the environmental movement on Earth. What will Cassini's image do for Dione?

More on Saturn's moons Rhea and Dione:


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).