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The Moving Moons of Saturn June 26, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Cassini, Enceladus, European Space Agency, JPL, Mimas, NASA, Planets, Rhea, Satellite, Saturn, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Space Science Institute, SSI, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA


The moons of Saturn never stop. A space traveler orbiting the ringed giant planet would witness a continuing silent dance where Saturn’s multiple moons pass near each other in numerous combinations. Like a miniature Solar System, the innermost moons orbit Saturn the fastest. The above movie was centered on Saturn’s moon Rhea, so that the moons Mimas and Enceladus appear to glide by. At 1,500 kilometers across, Rhea is over three times larger than the comparably sized Mimas and Enceladus. The Sun illuminates the scene from the lower right, giving all of the moons the same crescent phase. The above time lapse movie was created by the Saturn-orbiting robotic Cassini spacecraft over a period of about 40 minutes.

Enceladus Ice Volcanos June 8, 2006

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in APoD, Enceladus, Illustration, Planets, Saturn, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation. Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.


 Michael Carroll


 In this stunning Saturnian vista – one in a series of artist’s visions of volcanos on alien worlds – icy geysers erupt along narrow fractures in inner moon Enceladus. The majestic plumes were actually discovered by instruments on the Cassini Spacecraft during close encounters with bright and shiny Enceladus last year. Researchers now suspect the plumes originate from near-surface pockets of liquid water with temperatures near 273 kelvins (0 degrees C) – hot when compared to the distant moon’s surface temperature of 73 kelvins (-200 degrees C). A dramatic sign that tiny, 500km-diameter Enceladus is surprisingly active, these ice volcanos hold out another potential site in the search for water and origin of life beyond planet Earth. Enceladus’ ice volcanos also likely produce Saturn’s faint but extended E ring.

Fountains of Enceladus November 29, 2005

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Cassini, Enceladus, JPL, NASA, Saturn, Space Fotos.
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Fountains of Enceladus

Target Name: Enceladus
Is a satellite of: Saturn
Mission: Cassini
Spacecraft: Cassini Orbiter
Instrument: Imaging Science Subsystem – Narrow Angle
Product Size: 1019 samples x 863 lines
Produced By: Cassini Imaging Team
Primary Data Set: Cassini
Full-Res TIFF: PIA07758.tif (880.5 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA07758.jpg (101.6 kB)

Recent Cassini images of Saturn’s moon Enceladus backlit by the sun show the fountain-like sources of the fine spray of material that towers over the south polar region. This image was taken looking more or less broadside at the “tiger stripe” fractures observed in earlier Enceladus images. It shows discrete plumes of a variety of apparent sizes above the limb of the moon. 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 mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. 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, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


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