CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Crescent of Changing Terrain
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From a distant perspective, Cassini sees hints of the unusual surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus, a moon where new terrain is created around a geologically active south polar region.

See PIA11685 to learn more. Lit terrain seen here is in the area between the trailing hemisphere and Saturn-facing side of Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across). North on Enceladus is up and rotated 3 degrees to the left.

Several background stars are visible elongated by the motion of the spacecraft during the exposure.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 25, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 742,000 kilometers (461,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 129 degrees. Image scale is 4 kilometers (3 miles) 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: May 20, 2010 (PIA 12637)
Image/Caption Information
  Crescent of Changing Terrain
PIA 12637

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