One of Saturn's more unusual moons, Mimas, just got a little weirder. The Cassini spacecraft took surface temperature measurements of Mimas around February 13 to create a composite map displayed on the right. The image literally looks like Pacman eating eat a Pac-dot (Herschel Crater). Or as Phil Plait would say Holy Pareidolia!
The yellow color represents the highest surface temperature, around 92 Kelvins or minus 294 degrees Fahrenheit, while blue represents the lowest temperature, 77 Kelvins or minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists had expected that the warmer temperatures to be centered closer to the equator where the Sun was directly shining on Mimas surface at the time Cassini flew by, the map in upper left corner of above image. Instead, most of the equator is cooler and surfaces that were further away from the Sun were shown to be warmer resulting in the Pacman image to the right.
The results have astrophysicists and planetologists stumped as to what could be the cause behind the phenomenon. Some are speculating that the temperature variation is indication of the density and texture of ice covering the surface. Emily Lakdawalla discusses the mystery of Mimas, one Saturn's innermost moons, in further detail at the Planetary Society website.
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