CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

On Approach to Enceladus
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Cassini acquired this view 15 hours before closest approach to Enceladus as the spacecraft dove toward its thrilling March 2008 encounter with the ice-spewing moon.

The cratered terrain of the north is seen at top, and is even dimly visible on the moon's night side, which is lit by reflected sunlight coming from Saturn.

North on Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across) is up and rotated 22 degrees to the left. The north pole is tilted slightly toward Cassini.

The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 12, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 612,000 kilometers (380,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 114 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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: April 17, 2008 (PIA 09882)
Image/Caption Information
  On Approach to Enceladus
PIA 09882

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