CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Enceladus Raw Preview
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Enceladus Raw Preview
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  This unprocessed image of Enceladus was taken on April 25, 2007. The image shows plumes of ice particles erupting from the moon’s active south polar region.

North on Enceladus is rotated about 90 degrees to the right in this view. Hints of surface topography are visible along the terminator and at top, where reflected light from Saturn dimly illuminates the moon’s night side.

A background star was captured as a bright streak near lower left during the exposure while the spacecraft was targeted on Enceladus.

The image was taken with the narrow angle camera from a distance of approximately 187,000 kilometers (116,200 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 154 degrees. Resolution in the image is about 1 kilometer (3,670 feet) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, 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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: April 25, 2007
Image/Caption Information


Alliance Member Comments
Gatoderio (May 2, 2007 at 9:00 AM):
It's not possible carolyn another source for enceladus' heat?, i think for example some kind of nuclear reaction similar to occurred here on earth (OKLO) or nuclear-decay of some radiactive isotopes?
Red_dragon (Apr 30, 2007 at 8:43 AM):
Very interesting image as well as the comment of carolyn about Enceladus' source of activity. By the way, look closely at the moon's night side and see how some surface details can be seen there.
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Apr 25, 2007 at 4:41 PM):
Gandalf.... the only plausible source is tidal heating, but it's not as clear-cut as that. Present-day tidal heating is insufficient, apparently. It might imply that Enceladus oscillates in its orbital eccentricity, gets tidally heated when its eccentricity is higher than it is today, and is still giving off today the heat acquired and stored during the high eccentricity part of its cycle. Complicated, you say? No one ever said this would be easy.
pizwiz (Apr 25, 2007 at 2:36 PM):
I never tire of seeing these images and each one only spikes my curiosity more than the last one. Excellent work again.!
gandalf (Apr 25, 2007 at 12:07 PM):
Another excellant image of Enceladus' plumes.How is this cryogenic volcanism occurring ? Is the process similar to the tidal heating occurring on Jupiter's moon,Io ? Has there been any spectrophotometry measurements of the ice particles ?

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