CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
By the Pale Saturn-light

By the Pale Saturn-light
PIA 17129

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  Enceladus' unusual plume is only easily visible when Cassini and the Sun are on opposite sides of Enceladus. So what's lighting up the moon then? It's light reflected off Saturn. This lighting trick allows Cassini to capture both the back-lit plume and the surface of Enceladus in one shot.

This view looks toward the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Enceladus. North on Enceladus is up. The image was taken in blue light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 2, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 517,000 miles (832,000 kilometers) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 175 degrees. Image scale is 3 miles (5 kilometers) 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.

For more information about the Cassini Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: September 23, 2013 (PIA 17129)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Sep 25, 2013 at 8:10 AM):
another great shot. my compliments to whoever came up with the idea and whoever came up with the execution. well thought out and well done.