Here is Saturn’s fascinating little moon Iapetus, drifting in front of a well-known star in the constellation Orion. The star is called Bellatrix (Gamma Orionis). The Cassini spacecraft – which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004 – captured this event with narrow-angle camera on August 10, 2013. Cassini mission scientists assembled the animation from 19 raw images, stacked in Photoshop.
You might think of this event, the passage of Iapetus in front of a distant star, as a mini-eclipse, and so it is. Astronomers, though, would tend to use the word occultation for this event. Check out the images below for more about Iapetus.
Bottom line: Saturn’s moon Iapetus passed in front of the star Bellatrix in the constellation Orion on August 10, 2013. NASA space scientists assembled this cool animation.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.