The New South and the Old North
February 6, 2009
Sunrise uncovers both old and new Enceladus in this image from the Cassini spacecraft.
The lit side of the moon faces Saturn toward the left in this view of the trailing hemisphere. Old craters still pockmark the northern hemisphere while more recent geologic activity has swept them away in the south.
North is up in this image.
Mountain ranges, or dorsae, undulate across the moon's surface near the equator, in the lower left of the image.
From this high northern viewing angle, the south pole's fascinating "tiger stripe" area lies just out of view. Sulci, or furrows, in that area are the sources of icy plumes being studied by Cassini scientists. (See Enceladus the Storyteller and Icy Jets Aglow).
Also near the tiger stripes are rift segments that resemble the zigzag patterns seen on Earth of sea-floor spreading from upwelling magma. See Spreading Ridge Transforms On Enceladus for a comparison of the phenomena.
Like outstretched fingers, the Samarkand Sulci reach from the west toward the north pole, clearing their path of craters and slicing some in half.
This false-color mosaic combines narrow-angle camera images obtained through ultraviolet, green, and near-infrared camera filters. The images were acquired on Dec. 2, 2008 at a distance of approximately 124,000 kilometers (77,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 116 degrees. Image scale is 742 meters (2,430 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 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.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute