CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Casting a Shadow

Blazing like an icy torch, the plume of Enceladus shines in scattered sunlight as the moon casts a shadow onto Saturn's E ring. Some of the tiny ice particles erupted from the moon's south polar region go into Saturn orbit, forming the doughnut-shaped ring, onto which the moon's shadow is cast in this view.

The shadow of Enceladus (504 kilometers, 313 miles across) stretches away to the upper left at around the 10 o'clock position. The Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle is 164 degrees here, with the Sun being located toward the lower right. This means that Enceladus' shadow extends toward Cassini--through part of the E ring.

Some of the bright dots in this heavily processed view are background stars, others are due to cosmic ray hits on the camera detector.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 11, 2006 at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Enceladus. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. 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-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: April 18, 2007 (PIA 08921)
Image/Caption Information
  Casting a Shadow
PIA 08921

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Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (May 1, 2007 at 10:53 AM):
That peaceful red dragon who prefers knowledge to material treasures has left its lair and it's again here. A very interesting image, specially when one compares it with images like this one, taken by Galileo:
and see the similarities between the geological activity of both moons, even considerating the difference in materials: sodium at Io and icy particles at Enceladus.