CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Icy Emanations
[For trouble viewing the images/movies on this page, go here]
Icy Emanations
PIA 08954

Avg Rating: 9.41/10

Full Size 801x1001:
PNG 373 KB
  Peeking over the crescent of Enceladus, Cassini views the towering plume of ice particles erupting from the moon's south polar region.

Multiple components of the overall plume are visible in this view of Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across).

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 24, 2007 at a distance of approximately 188,000 kilometers (117,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 153 degrees. Image scale is 1 kilometer (0.6 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: June 4, 2007 (PIA 08954)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Mercury_3488 (Feb 3, 2008 at 11:47 AM):
My first post here.

We have been finding evidence of ongoing geological activity on more & more planetary bodies, since active volcanism was discovered on the Jupiter moon Io by Voyager 1.

Enceladus (love this image by the way). I think it is Saturnshine & yes Enceladus isseen here in front of the E-Ring, its own making, hence the 'bright' background.

Enceladus has joined the illustrious list of active bodies, with Titan, Dione, Jupiter moon Europa, Uranus moons Ariel & Titania, Venus & maybe Mars, being evidenced as being only 'dormant or even active'. Even MESSENGER @ Mercury recently has revealed interesting volcanic geology on the newly viewed part of the planet.

Enceladus is one of my favourite planetary bodies & along with Titan, Dione & Iapetus ranks as my favourites of Saturn's moons.

I for one an eagerly awaiting the very close Cassini encounter this March. What may help, is a close pass over the older northern region, to get close imaging & gravity data & then compare with the active south polar region, perhaps this may help explain, why the activity is clustered around Enceladus's antarctic & not more globally like Jupiter's Io.

Phoebe, is also very interesting, as maybe a captured KBO & thus Cassini may have trumpted New Horizons, in first encountering a KBO.
EDG (Jun 4, 2007 at 11:04 PM):
Either way it's a gorgeous pic... if the vertical striping on the dark parts could be removed/cleaned up though it'd be even better. Are these Raw images, or have they already been processed?
stowaway (Jun 4, 2007 at 6:39 PM):
trying to figure out the viewing geometry of these pictures can sometimes drive me nuts... if we knew the exact time the picture was taken we could use the solar system simulator to verify our guesses... but I think you are correct... Saturn is to the left... or... Enceladus is silhouetted against the dark side of Saturn and is illuminated on the left by *ringshine*
EDG (Jun 4, 2007 at 10:08 AM):
Enceladus is not in front of Saturn is it? I guess not because the Saturnshine is to the left. I'm wondering why I can see the whole of Enceladus' disk, is it against the backdrop of the E ring dust?

Want to add a comment?   Login (for Alliance Members) ... or ... Join the CICLOPS Alliance!