CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
A Water Crystal Geyser on Enceladus
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A Water Crystal Geyser on Enceladus
"We all know what water geysers look like on Earth, but what would one look like in world where there is no atmosphere to speak of, surface temperature is -330° F, and the escape velocity is only 870 km/hr. I imagined a geyser that was more a diaphanous aurora of ice crystals than a spray of water. In my rendering, some of the crystals have repeatedly combined to form snow heavy enough to fall back to the surface, while smaller crystals head off into space. Irregular sprays, varying velocities, and perhaps even electrostatic forces, contribute to the geyser's chaotic appearance. Saturn itself appears low on the horizon due to the proximity to Enceladus' south pole, and the small white dot immediately to Saturn's left is the icy moon Mimas."

Walter Myers   © 2006
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