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As the long winter night deepens at Enceladus' south pole, its jets are also progressivly falling into darkness. The shadow of the moon itself is slowly creeping up the jets making the portions closest to the surface difficult to observe by Cassini.
Cassini looks toward the night side of Enceladus (313 miles, 504 kilometers across) in this image. Enceladus is lit by light reflected off Saturn rather than by direct sunlight.
This view looks toward the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Enceladus. North on Enceladus is up. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 24, 2012 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 930 nanometers.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 452,000 miles (728,000 kilometers) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 170 degrees. Scale in the original image was 3 miles (4 kilometers) per pixel. The image was magnified by a factor of three to enhance the visibility of jets.
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.