CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Damascus Sulcus on Enceladus

Damascus Sulcus on Enceladus
PIA 11113

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Damascus Sulcus on Enceladus
PIA 11113

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  Cassini shot past the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Aug. 11, 2008, acquiring a set of seven high-resolution images targeting known jet source locations on the moon's "tiger stripe" fractures, or sulci. Two of those images are presented in this mosaic; the other five images are shown in PIA11114.

Features on Enceladus are named for characters and places from "The Arabian Nights," and the four most prominent sulci are named Alexandria, Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus. Here, Damascus Sulcus runs across the center, from left to right.

One highly anticipated result of this flyby was to pinpoint previously identified source locations the jets that blast icy particles, water vapor and trace organics into space (see PIA08385). The yellow circles on the annotated version of the mosaic indicate source locations II and III identified in PIA08385.

Scientists are using these new images to study geologic activity associated with the sulci, and effects on the surrounding terrain. This information, coupled with observations by Cassini's other instruments, may answer the question of whether reservoirs of liquid water exist beneath the surface.

The mosaic consists of two images obtained with the clear spectral filters on Cassini's narrow-angle camera. The view is an orthographic projection with an image scale of 24 meters (79 feet) per pixel. The area shown here is centered on 81.2 degrees south latitude, 309.9 degrees west longitude. The original images ranged in resolution from 27 to 30 meters (89 to 98 feet) per pixel and were taken at distances ranging from 4,200 to 4,742 kilometers (2,610 to 2,947 miles) from Enceladus.

The Cassini Equinox 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 Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: August 14, 2008 (PIA 11113)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Aug 16, 2008 at 12:56 PM):
I found an answer to my question on the NASA web site. an interview with the star skeet shooter. i guess what was apparent to me was obvious to the scientist looking at these images. the vents have been meandering along the sulci. now i wait to see what the "chapped lips" have to say about the source of energy behind all this.
NeKto (Aug 15, 2008 at 12:07 PM):
WOW! Carolyn; thank you and the entire team for this great gift! i am having a lot of fun looking at this. i know enough about orbital mechanics, or in this case perhaps balistics, to apreciate the huge amount of number crunching to pull this off. (and thhe number crunching is the easy part!) to my mostly untrained eye i think i see what indicates the specific places the jets eminate from. if i am correct, it looks to me like those "points" have meandered along the sulci over time. please let me know if i am anywhere near right. (if you have the time!)
Breitstar (Aug 15, 2008 at 0:29 AM):
They look like a set of chapped lips.