December 1, 2014
Enceladus (visible in the lower-left corner of the image) is but a speck before enormous Saturn, but even a small moon can generate big waves of excitement throughout the scientific community. Enceladus, only 313 miles (504 kilometers) across, spurts vapor jets from its south pole.
The presence of these jets from Enceladus has been the subject of intense study since they were discovered by Cassini. Their presence may point to a sub-surface water reservoir.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 2 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 20, 2014 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 589,000 miles (948,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 26 degrees. Image scale is 35 miles (57 kilometers) 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-Caltech/Space Science Institute