CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Mighty Little Dot

Enceladus (visible in the lower-left corner of the image) is but a speck before enormous Saturn, but even a small moon can generate big waves of excitement throughout the scientific community. Enceladus, only 313 miles (504 kilometers) across, spurts vapor jets from its south pole.

The presence of these jets from Enceladus has been the subject of intense study since they were discovered by Cassini. Their presence may point to a sub-surface water reservoir.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 2 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 20, 2014 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 589,000 miles (948,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 26 degrees. Image scale is 35 miles (57 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: December 1, 2014 (PIA 18296)
Image/Caption Information
  Mighty Little Dot
PIA 18296

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Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Dec 3, 2014 at 12:13 PM):
I don't know why, but I find so many of the images here to be stress relief. this one is no exception.
to paraphrase Brian Wilson; We'll have Fun Fun Fun until NASA takes Cassini away!