What the Heck Is This?

If you can guess today's What the Heck image, you're good. I suspect the guesses will be all over the ballpark.

This beautiful play of light and shadow was created by nature, but not the nature we think of every day. Call it the otherworldly nature.

No more hints. Take your guess, then look below for the full image and explanation.

It's a photo of Saturn's moon Helene, aka the Ice Queen. The moon is one of many small satellites orbiting Saturn. The diameter of the far-from-round object averages about 22 miles (35 km).

As with many of Saturn's moons, Helene is thought to contain a lot of ice. The surface is smooth and streaked, with evidence of impacts.

The photo was made by NASA's Cassini spacecraft June 18, 2011 and released yesterday. This is a raw image, one that hasn't been processed nor analyzed much, so there's not much more to say about it. Yet.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its second-closest encounter with Saturn's icy moon Helene on June 18, 2011, beaming down raw images of the small moon. At closest approach, Cassini flew within 4,330 miles (6,968 kilometers) of Helene's surface. It was the second closest approach to Helene of the entire mission.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its second-closest encounter with Saturn's icy moon Helene on June 18, 2011, beaming down raw images of the small moon. At closest approach, Cassini flew within 4,330 miles (6,968 kilometers) of Helene's surface. It was the second closest approach to Helene of the entire mission.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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