Tilted Terminator – Cassini Spacecraft Views Enceladus

Cassini Spacecraft Views Enceladus

As Saturn nears its northern summer solstice, the day-night boundary line, also known as the terminator, intersects Enceladus in a diagonal manner. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

This new image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows wrinkled plains that are remarkably youthful in appearance on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

When viewed with north pointing up, as in this image, the day-night boundary line (or terminator) cuts diagonally across Enceladus, with Saturn approaching its northern summer solstice. The lit portion on all of Saturn’s large, icy moons, including Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) and Saturn itself, is now centered on their northern hemispheres. This change of season, coupled with a new spacecraft trajectory, has progressively revealed new terrains compared to when Cassini arrived in 2004, when the southern hemisphere was more illuminated.

This view looks toward the leading hemisphere of Enceladus. The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on January 14, 2016.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 49,000 miles (79,000 kilometers) from Enceladus. Image scale is 1,540 feet (470 meters) per pixel.

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