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NASA's Cassini captures a still and partially sunlit Enceladus. The Saturnian moon is covered in ice that reflects sunlight similar to freshly fallen snow, making Enceladus one of the most reflective objects in the solar system. The blue color in this false-color image indicates larger-than-average ice particles. The moon's surface is decorated with fractures, folds and ridges caused by tectonic stresses. For more about the tectonics on Enceladus see PIA11686.
This view looks toward the side of Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) that faces backward in the moon's orbit around Saturn. North on Enceladus is up. The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 7, 2010, using filters sensitive to ultraviolet, visible and infrared light (spanning wavelengths from 338 to 750 nanometers).
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 123,000 miles (198,000 kilometers) from Enceladus. Image scale is 3,889 feet (1 kilometer) per pixel.
The Cassini Solstice 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.