CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Fountains of Enceladus
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Recent Cassini images of Enceladus at high phase show the fountain-like sources of the fine spray of material that towers above the moon's south polar region. This image was taken looking more or less broadside at the "tiger stripe" fractures observed in earlier Enceladus images and shows discrete and small-scale plumes above the limb of the moon.

The color-coded image at right was processed to enhance faint signals, making contours in the plume of material even more apparent. The greatly enhanced and colorized image shows the enormous extent of the fainter, larger-scale component of the plume.

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: November 28, 2005, March 9, 2006 (PIA 07759, 07758)
Image/Caption Information
  Fountains of Enceladus
PIA 07758

Avg Rating: 8.53/10

Full Size 1019x863:
PNG 435 KB


Fountains of Enceladus
PIA 07759

Avg Rating: 8.38/10

Full Size 1019x863:
PNG 297 KB

Alliance Member Comments
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jan 23, 2008 at 5:33 PM):
Gene: The `feathering' at the terminator that you are referring to is caused by the topography on the surface. If you saw the terminator of the moon at a similar phase angle, it would appear bumpy also, due to the mountains and valleys on the moone. There is no atmosphere, of course. - Carolyn
Red_dragon (Jan 23, 2008 at 2:08 AM):
Last Sunday, I saw a doc on National Geographic about possible places on the Solar System to look for possible lifeforms. One of these places was (is) Enceladus with its impressive geysers and the scientist who appeared talking about them was -of course- Carolyn. Her comments about that moon and those fountains -I'm eargerly waiting for the march flyby- were quite interesting...and was also fun to recognize CICLOPS images on the computer screens that appeared in the background -one of them the false color image of above-.
No doubt she's the "Lady of Saturn" and the CICLOPS team the "Gentlemen of Saturn".
dolphin (Jan 2, 2007 at 10:48 PM):
The black material looks like surface texture made visible at the low-angle-sun zone (like craters are highlighted at the terminator between sun and shade on the moon). If ice grains rain down on this moon; this moon may be a good snow-boarding destination for astro-adventurers...
Gene Zagorsky (Dec 29, 2006 at 7:27 PM):
I am intrigued by the nature of the black material "feathering" into the image of the white background giving rise to the plume of material emanating from Enceladus... an atmospheric disturbance of some sort??? ... or is it related in part to the time lapsed nature of the entire photograph as evidenced by the "trails" of the background stars?

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