NASA shared the image of a celestial body on its Instagram page and asked netizens to guess its name. The image shared showed a white celestial body with a broad ring around it, giving it the appearance of a dumpling or ravioli.
NASA’s official Instagram page captioned it, “Ravioli, pierogi, empanada…What do you see? No wrong answers.”
Turns out, the object shown in the picture is the innermost moon of Saturn called Pan. The image of Pan was captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
The American space agency further wrote in the caption, “Pan, the innermost of Saturn’s known moons, orbits the planet from inside a gap in one of Saturn’s rings.”
Pan: Saturn’s innermost moon
The planet Saturn has many moons and a whopping 145 of them are known and named. Pan is one of those moons, and not just that, it is the innermost moon of the ringed planet. Pan is a small, walnut-shaped moon approximately 35 km and 23 km wide that orbits the Encke Gap, a part of Saturn’s A Ring.
Pan is responsible for keeping the Encke Gap free of ring particles. It is sometimes described as having the appearance of ravioli, the reason why NASA captioned it as ‘ravioli’
Netizens react with witty comments
NASA added that the moon was first discovered by MR Showalter in 1990 using the images taken by Voyager 2 spacecraft. These recent images of Pan were captured by the Cassini spacecraft while passing within 15,300 miles (24,600 km) of the moon. It is also the spacecraft’s closest encounter with Pan.
NASA said that the two images shared of Pan were taken from different perspectives – one from above the moon and the other from below the moon. The moon appears to have a flat ridge around its midpoint, and lines that look like they were scraped across its surface, wrote NASA.
Netizens were not only fascinated by the images but also spun some seriously funny puns.
One user wrote, “Ravioli can be cooked on Pans right?” Another user described it as “cabbage.”
One user called it the “Strangest moon ever! It’s looks like a hat from upper view”.
(With inputs from agencies)
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