The Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem: Science Today and in Cassini's Final Three Years

Monday, 15 December 2014
Robert A West, Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, CA, United States
The Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) instrument was designed for long-range, high resolution imaging of Saturn and its system of rings and moons. It consists of two cameras, a Narrow Angle Camera (NAC, 2000 mm focal length) and a Wide Angle Camera (WAC, 200 mm focal length). The NAC has sensitivity from 200 nm to 1100 nm. The WAC is sensitive from 350 nm to 1100 nm. Among the mission highlights thus far for ISS have been discoveries of particulate plumes from Enceladus, details of surface topography along the ‘tiger stripes’, the discovery of an equatorial ridge on Iapetus, detailed images of small inner moons and distant moons Phoebe and Hyperion, features in Saturn’s rings including perturbed edges near embedded moons, ‘propellers’, ephemeral clumps, and evidence for impacts in the rings and free-oscillation modes in Saturn’s interior. The camera documented the aftermath of a methane/ethane ‘rain’ storm on Titan as well as seasonal behavior in the detached haze and visible airglow generated by magnetospheric plasma. The cameras documented the formation and evolution of a giant storm on Saturn, lightning from storms on Saturn, and determined that eddies are powering Saturn’s zonal jets. In the F-ring and Proximal orbits ISS will obtain even better resolution on the rings, planet and inner moons.