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Enceladus

Enceladus

Moons - Enceladus Return to Moons page Click here to return to Saturn's Moons page



Enceladus [en-SELL-ah-dus] is one of the brightest objects in our solar system. Covered in water ice that reflects sunlight like freshly fallen snow, Enceladus reflects almost 100 percent of the sunlight that strikes it. Because Enceladus reflects so much sunlight, the surface temperature is extremely cold, about -201° C (-330° F).

Fountains of Enceladus - Image #2
Enceladus Multimedia GalleryLink to 'Enceladus Multimedia Gallery'
About as wide as Arizona, Enceladus is quite similar in size to Mimas but has a smoother, brighter surface. Unlike Mimas, Enceladus displays at least five different types of terrain. Parts of the moon show craters no larger than 35 kilometers (about 22 miles) in diameter. Other areas show regions with no craters indicating major resurfacing events in the geologically recent past. There are fissures, plains, corrugated terrain and other crustal deformations. All of this indicates that the interior of the moon may be liquid today, even though it should have been frozen eons ago. Enceladus' surface is believed to be geologically "young," possibly less than 100 million years old.

Flyby Dates
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Fast Facts
  • Discovered in 1789 by William Herschel
  • Distance from Saturn: 237,378 kilometers (147,500 miles)
  • Period of Orbit around Saturn: 32.8 hours
  • Diameter: 512 x 494 x 489 km (318 x 307 x 304 miles)
  • Mass: 1.2 x 1020 kg (2.6 x 1020 lbs)
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Science Goals
  • Determine the characteristics and geological history of Enceladus
  • Define the different physical processes that created the surface of Enceladus
  • Investigate composition and distribution of surface materials on Enceladus -- particularly dark, organic-rich material and condensed ice
  • Determine the bulk composition and internal structure of Enceladus
  • Investigate interaction of Enceladus with Saturn's magnetosphere and ring system
News Releases
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Saturn's Moons (sorted alphabetically)
Aegaeon
Aegir
Albiorix
Anthe
Atlas
Bebhionn
Bergelmir
Bestla
Calypso
Daphnis
Dione
Enceladus
Epimetheus
Erriapus
Farbauti
Fenrir
Fornjot
Greip
Hati
Helene
Hyperion
Hyrrokkin
Iapetus
Ijiraq
Janus
Jarnsaxa
Kari
Kiviuq
Loge
Methone
Mimas
Mundilfari
Narvi
Paaliaq
Pallene
Pan
Pandora
Phoebe
Polydeuces
Prometheus
Rhea
Siarnaq
Skadi
Skoll
Surtur
Suttung
Tarqeq
Tarvos
Telesto
Tethys
Thrym
Titan
Ymir

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