CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Enceladus Rev 80 Flyby Skeet Shoot #3
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Enceladus Rev 80 Flyby Skeet Shoot #3
PIA 11106

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  This image is the third skeet-shoot image taken during Cassini's very close flyby of Enceladus on Aug. 11, 2008. Cairo Sulcus is crossing the southern part of the image. The terrain is littered with blocks of ice. (The image is upside down from the skeet-shoot footprint shown here.)

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 11, 2008 a distance of approximately 2,446 kilometers (1,396 miles) above the surface of Enceladus. Image scale is approximately 18 meters (59 feet) per pixel.

The Cassini Equinox Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. 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 was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. 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 Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: August 12, 2008 (PIA 11106)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Aug 14, 2008 at 1:57 PM):
rgedaly: Yes, what you describe -- high density mass anomaly going to the equator, lower density anomaly to the pole -- is called true polar wander, and we suspect it could very well have happened on Enceladus. But of course, we don't know that with any great degree of confidence yet, and won't until we find out more ... about what causes the anomalous heat, the jetting activity, whether there's liquid water beneath the pole, and a million etc's after that.
rgedaly (Aug 14, 2008 at 12:53 PM):
Hi Andrew. Since an axis shift would tend to re-align a high density region to the equator, could it be that the Tiger Stripe region is lower density than the rest of Enceladus? Hope all the close passes will provide a good global gravity map. Regards, Ray Gedaly
Mercury_3488 (Aug 14, 2008 at 7:06 AM):
Hi rgedaly.

It is reckoned that Enceladus has rolled over. Jupiter's moon Io is another point. Some of the larger plumes on Io like Tvashtar are in the higher latitudes than the equator.

Dione also appears to have extentional faults & graben too. It is thought that Dione is partially responsible, for the heating of Enceladu, but Dione too, appears to have been very active at some point. Dione is approx 30 times the mass of Enceladus. What caused Dione to be active? Rhea??????? Yet Rhea appears as dead as a dodo, with not much happening there other being cratered.

it's interesting to see the pattern outwards from Saturn.

Mimas. Inactive cratered.
Enceladus, active.
Tethys. Inactive, cratered.
Dione, has been active, possibly still is on a small level.
Rhea. Second largest of Saturn's moons, inactive, cratered.
Titan. Possibly very active, with cryovolcanoes & tectonic activity.
Iapetus. Inactive, cratered, but with a huge equatorial mountain belt, possibly home to some of the highest peaks not on Mars & Io.

Some parts of the south polar region on Enceladus does resemble Europa in may respects, yet Europa is approx 500 times Enceladus's mass.

It is interesting to see how similar landforms appear on bodies that cover a woide range of size & mass.

Andrew Brown.
rgedaly (Aug 13, 2008 at 2:55 PM):
Looks like you have fracturing from tidal flexing, same as Europa. Am I remembering correctly that Enceladus is in orbital resonance with Dione? But wouldn't you expect to see more tidal effect at the equator than at a pole?
rgedaly (Aug 13, 2008 at 2:38 PM):
I zoom in further and see the small icy bolders with the sun casting huge shadows. I call them bolders but according to the scale they may be greater than 100 meters in size. Ray
rgedaly (Aug 13, 2008 at 2:29 PM):
Saw a better view of Skeet Shoot #3 and I'm beginning to get a better understanding of the scale. What I thought was a linear fault is actually the far wall of an ice block that is higher than the ice behind it. The near wall is in the foreground of the image. Are these the ice blocks described by the imaging team? I was initially looking for these ice blocks to be a few pixels in size; the details here are amazing!
rgedaly (Aug 13, 2008 at 1:38 PM):
Terrain in Skeet Shoot #3 has similarities to Europa with extensional faults and grabens. There appears to be a linear fault cutting across the center of the image. It appears to be younger than other features. Features such as the fracture or ridge appear to be offset on either side of this fault. Ray Gedaly
Frankypouh (Aug 12, 2008 at 9:15 PM):
Fantastique! You got the gold medal!