Space

A Song of Ice and Light, Enceladus Drifts Before Saturn’s Rings

Cassini Image of Enceladus Drifting By Saturn's Rings

Saturn’s moon Enceladus drifts before the rings and the tiny moon Pandora in this view that NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured on November 1, 2009. The entire scene is backlit by the Sun, providing striking illumination for the icy particles that make up both the rings and the jets emanating from the south pole of Enceladus, which is about 314 miles (505 km) across. Pandora, which is about (52 miles, 84 kilometers) wide, was on the opposite side of the rings from Cassini and Enceladus when the image was taken. This view looks toward the night side on Pandora as well, which is lit by dim golden light reflected from Saturn.

This natural-color image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft’s narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 149,600 miles (240,800 kilometers) from Enceladus and 352,200 miles (566,800 kilometers) from Pandora.

The Cassini spacecraft ended its mission on September 15, 2017.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and https://www.nasa.gov/cassini. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.

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By
Tony Greicius, NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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