CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Enceladus "Rev 91" Flyby Raw Preview #2
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Enceladus "Rev 91" Flyby Raw Preview #2
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  This image was taken during Cassini's close flyby with Enceladus on Oct. 31, 2008.

The image was with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 31, 2008 at a distance of approximately 3,500 kilometers (2,000 miles) from Enceladus.


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 http://ciclops.org, http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: November 1, 2008
Image/Caption Information


Alliance Member Comments
CheshireCat (Nov 3, 2008 at 4:50 PM):
Actually, their inclinations are around 7.5 degrees and 4 degrees (http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?sat_elem). However, you have the right tilts for them, which dominate the effects. So yep, their equinoxes are potentially quite different from Saturn's.
Mercury_3488 (Nov 1, 2008 at 5:06 PM):
Thank you very much John.

Yes I also think that Titan's rotational axis is perpendicular to the orbital plane. I can see that the difference in dates is only a matter of a few weeks at most.

20' of arc difference in rotational axis, that is very minor even in a 29.5 year long 'year'.

I have run the sequence through Redshift 5 & the 11th August does indeed match up with Saturn & the Titan Equinox appears to be on the 5th August, so about a week ahead of Saturn's.

If you are interested, I ran through the Equinox for Iapetus with a fairly large inclination of 14 degrees 45' & the equinox occurred way back on 31st March 2007, 19 months ago already!!!!!!! Also did Phoebe, Equinox was even further back on 1st September 2006. So for these two, Northern Spring began quite a while ago already.

Looking forward to seeing the rest of the images, particularly the close up SKEET ones.

Andrew Brown.
CheshireCat (Nov 1, 2008 at 2:26 PM):
Sorry, I don't know where the December date come from. The Titanic equinox is certainly shifted slightly from Saturn's equinox, but I'm pretty sure it can't be more than a few weeks. Here's why: Titan's orbital inclination is only 0.3 degrees to Saturn's equatorial plane, so if its spin axis is perpendicular to its orbital plane (I believe it is), that's how different its spin is from Saturn's. In that case, the farthest the equinoxes could be apart is around 20 days. (The time difference could be a lot less, depending on the orientation of Titan's orbit.)

Hope that helps!

-- John Weiss
CICLOPS
Mercury_3488 (Nov 1, 2008 at 11:40 AM):
Thank you very much Carolyn & John.

I was a bit unclear as to the actual dates. Don;t know where December came from?

Great to see that all appears to have gone very well. 2008 has been an amazing year for planetary exploration.

MESSENGER with two spectacular Mercury encounters, Phoenix Mars Lander well exceeding mission goals, MERs in an improving situation, The three Mars Orbiters continuing to perform very well, ESA Rosetta pulling off a remarkable encounter with the small but very rare type main belt asteroid 2867 Steins, Cassini again pulling off a spectacular as has already done so several times this year within the Saturn system & continues to do so.

It has been a real vintage year, one of the finest for quite some time, of which Cassini is a major cornerstone. Also there are still two months left of this remarkable year.

Your dedication & professionalism is unwavering & continues to be. I will be looking in again later when I get back.

Andrew Brown.
CheshireCat (Nov 1, 2008 at 9:11 AM):
Andrew: Saturnian equinox is 11 August 2009. Earth will cross the ring plane about a month after equinox thanks to the slight relative inclinations in the two planets' orbits.

John Weiss
CICLOPS
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Nov 1, 2008 at 9:10 AM):
Hello Everyone! A batch of fantastic images came down over the night, and we're right now processing them and should be posting nice, cleaned up versions later today. But I can say that it looks like everything went very well with our latest maneuver, and we're making target identifications as I write. Our next flyby of Enceladus, as you may know, is not for another year. And the sun is disappearing from the south pole with time, so that by next year we will have a far dimmer view of a shrinking portion of the tiger stripe region. So, take your fill of this fabulous place now, because it will be a very very long time before you see it like this again. Stay tuned for more!
Mercury_3488 (Nov 1, 2008 at 8:43 AM):
Hi Carolyn,
Brilliant, it looks like the SKEET technique has worked again. Ice boulders are certainly visible again.

I assume the images are still being returned, but the three images you have made available clearly shown that the pointing etc, has been spot on.

Looking forward to seeing the rest when they are available.

Perhaps yourselves could share the SKEET technique with the MESSENGER, DAWN & New Horizons teams as this could benefit all hugely at Mercury, 1 Ceres, 4 Vesta & Pluto?

Well done Carolyn, your team undoubtedly have pulled of another amazing spectacular success.

I'm a little confused, I have seen two separate dates for the Kronian Equinox. I have seen December 2009 for Saturn, but August 2009 for Titan (as Titan's rotational axis differs from Saturn's very slightly, so occurs four month's earlier).

Andrew Brown.

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