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NASA's Cassini spacecraft paused during its final close flyby of Enceladus to focus on the icy moon's craggy, dimly lit limb, with the planet Saturn beyond.
Layers can be seen in the high hazes of Saturn's upper atmosphere, in the gradient that separates the planet from space.
North on Enceladus is up and rotated 27 degrees to the left. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 19, 2015, using a spectral filter, which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 147 degrees. Image scale is 479 feet (146 meters) 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.