Before Saturn's Limb
November 30, 2010
Jets of water ice particles spew from Saturn's moon Enceladus in this image obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Aug. 13, 2010. A crescent of the moon appears dimly illuminated in front of the bright limb of Saturn.
This view looks toward the night side of Saturn, which occupies the lower half of the image. Enceladus, in the center of the image, is closer to the spacecraft than the planet is in this view. Sunlight scatters through the planet's atmosphere and forms the bright diagonal line running from the left to right of the image. Lit terrain seen on Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across) is on the leading hemisphere of the moon. North on Enceladus is up.
The jets erupting from the south polar region appear faint here, but can be seen at the bottom of the crescent of the moon. See Bursting at the Seams to learn more.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 61,000 kilometers (38,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 155 degrees. Image scale is 4 kilometers (2 miles) 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