CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

The Moon of One Hundred and One Geysers

Imaging scientists using Cassini's high resolution camera to conduct a 6.5-year survey of the south polar terrain of Enceladus have found 101 geysers erupting from the four prominent `tiger stripe' fractures crossing the region. A comparison between the geysers' source locations, the sites on the surface known to be emitting excess heat, and the distribution across the region of tidal forces that flex the moon has pointed the way to the origins of both the geysers and thermal emission, as well as details of the eruption process.

A comprehensive examination of these findings and a discussion of their significance have been published online today in the Astronomical Journal. (Press release can be found here)

Jul 28, 2014: Geyser Basin in 3D - This graphic shows a 3-D model of 98 geysers whose source locations and tilts were found in a Cassini imaging survey of Enceladus' south polar terrain by the method of triangulation.
Jul 28, 2014: Bursting at the Seams: the Geyser Basin of Enceladus - Dramatic plumes, both large and small, spray water ice and vapor from many locations along the famed "tiger stripes" near the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus.
Jul 28, 2014: Encroaching Shadow - This Cassini narrow-angle camera image -- one of those acquired in the survey conducted by the Cassini imaging science team of the geyser basin at the south pole of Enceladus -- was taken as Cassini was looking across the moon's south pole.
Jul 28, 2014: Elevated View of Enceladus' South Pole - This dramatic view looks across the region of Enceladus' geyser basin and down on the ends of the Baghdad and Damascus fractures that face Saturn.
Jul 28, 2014: Surveyor's Map of Enceladus' Geyser Basin - On this polar stereographic map of Enceladus' south polar terrain, all 100 geysers have been plotted whose source locations have been determined in Cassini's imaging survey of the moon's geyser basin.
Jul 28, 2014: What Lies Beneath: Close Up View - This artist's rendering shows a cross-section of the ice shell immediately beneath one of Enceladus' geyser-active fractures, illustrating the physical and thermal structure and the processes ongoing below and at the surface..
Jul 28, 2014: What Lies Beneath: Regional View - This artist's rendering shows a regional cross-section of the ice shell underlying Enceladus' south polar terrain, illustrating our current knowledge of the physical and thermal structure and processes ongoing below and at the surface.
Jul 28, 2014: Enceladus' Plume Brightness Variations - This plot shows the variation in brightness of the plume of material, composed of all the geysers erupting from the south polar terrain of Saturn's moon Enceladus, as a function of the moon's orbital position around Saturn.

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